Originally Featured in North Forty News
By Kallie Cooper

Wellington Takes Steps to Improve Pedestrian Safety

The Town of Wellington has taken its first steps towards a safer community for kids and residents.

Brand new surface-mounted pedestrian crosswalk signs can now be found outside of Rice Elementary, Eyestone Elementary, Wellington Middle School, and along Cleveland Ave at third, fourth, and fifth streets. These signs are intended for use at un-signalized crosswalks to provide an additional measure of awareness.

The safety initiative began last year after community leaders came together to address ongoing concerns over pedestrian safety near the public schools and in the downtown. Concerned citizen, Rebekka Kinney, met with Town staff and officials from the Colorado Department of Transportation to observe pedestrians crossing Cleveland Ave (State HWY 1) in downtown Wellington.

“Our downtown is so special, yet I cringed whenever I saw a kid trying to cross the street.  Wellington is a wonderful, safe place for families, and going forward we are going to do more! If we can prevent a tragedy, share our charm, and improve our walkability, Wellington wins!  Our main street is my favorite place to be and now it’s safer!” said Kinney.

Following the tragic loss of a Kindergarten student in a traffic accident by Lopez Elementary in Fort Collins, the community felt it was more critical than ever to address the safety of students near the public schools and the downtown skate park.  Representatives from the Town of Wellington, Wellington Colorado Main Streets Program, Poudre School District, and the Wellington Fire Protection District collaborated to create a plan to improve safety in critical areas of the community.

PHOTO COURTESY WELLINGTON COLORADO MAINS STREETS PROGRAM; New R1-6 In-Road Pedestrian Crossing Sign at the intersection of Cleveland Ave (State HWY 1) and 3rd Street in Downtown Wellington

The Town of Wellington approved the $75,000 project on April 28th, which included the purchase of the R1-6 In road pedestrian crosswalk signs as well as solar-powered flashing crossing signs (RFBs) that will be installed later this year. CDOT has worked closely with the Town of Wellington to recognize the need and make this a priority for the community.

In addition to funding by the Town of Wellington, the project is supported by donations from the Wellington Colorado Main Streets Program as part of their mission to create a “pedestrian-friendly downtown” and the Junior Girl Scout Troop 76076 in hopes to bring more awareness and safety to kids in Wellington regarding crosswalks as “Agents of Change.”

“My little sister was the same age as the little boy who died in Fort Collins.  I don’t know what I would do without her.  We (my troop) considered a lot of issues like bullying, transportation, and crosswalks.  We decided this is what we could do to make change happen right now!” said Roxy Kinney of the project.

Community leaders plan to continue their efforts to educate the community on pedestrian safety and how they can be a part of creating a safe environment for residents and visitors to Wellington.