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New crosswalks in Winnebago County may curb pedestrian accidents

In every city across the state of Wisconsin there are always those busy streets that scream danger and are responsible for a majority of the serious accidents within city limits. For the town of Neenah in Winnebago County, those streets are Commercial Street and Wisconsin Avenue where a number of pedestrians say they have encountered a number of close calls because of the high volume of traffic and inadequate crossing zones in the area.

But while the volume of traffic may not go down any time soon, the number of close calls could after the city installs two new crosswalks at these busy locations. Scheduled to be installed next week, these crosswalks will be different than others that have been tried in the past because they act as controlled intersections, forcing drivers to stop so that pedestrians can safely cross the street.

Concerns about the two streets were raised by two Wisconsin businesses that share borders with the roads. Hundreds of employees for Neenah Paper and Bemis Corporation, located on Commercial Street and Wisconsin Avenue respectively, cross the streets every day. It’s estimated that more than 13,000 cars drive past Neenah Paper alone in one day. And with more than 800 crossings in a day for the company, that’s a lot of potential pedestrian accidents many agree should be avoided at all costs.

As will many auto-pedestrian accidents, employees for both companies see a lot of instances of distracted driving that can lead to serious collisions. The hope is that the new systems will deter drivers from engaging in such negligence behavior when approaching the crosswalk, thereby reducing the chance of a collision in the future. It’s a project the city of Neenah has backed wholeheartedly, splitting the cost of installing the systems with both companies.

Source: Fox 11 News, "Pedestrian crossing agreement in Neenah," Chad Doran, Sept. 30, 2013

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