‘An attention-getter’

Speed indicator on Church Street designed to calm traffic

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS
Drivers heading west on Church Street in downtown Marshalltown may notice an indicator flashing their speed if they are going over 20 mph; the indicator is located at the corner of Church Street and North Center Street. It was installed by the city at the request of a U.S. Postal Service delegation in response to postal worker Amy Sanders’ death in a collision at the intersection.

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS Drivers heading west on Church Street in downtown Marshalltown may notice an indicator flashing their speed if they are going over 20 mph; the indicator is located at the corner of Church Street and North Center Street. It was installed by the city at the request of a U.S. Postal Service delegation in response to postal worker Amy Sanders’ death in a collision at the intersection.

It’s been several months since U.S. Postal Service worker Amy Sanders died in a collision at the intersection of Church Street and North Center Street; now, two additions have been made to promote safety in that area.

“It doesn’t track anybody’s speed, it doesn’t send tickets; it is simply an awareness guide,” said Marshalltown Public Works Director Justin Nickel of the recently-installed speed indicator placed near the intersection on Church Street. “It’s not a red light camera, it’s not a speed camera, it’s not a ploy to write tickets and get money, it’s simply a speed-calming device.”

The sign flashes when a drivers exceed the posted limit of 20 mph, but Nickel said speeds are not recorded. It was added when officials from the USPS Hawkeye District requested safety measures at the intersection in response to Sanders’ death.

Sanders was killed when a mini-van traveling southbound on Center Street collided with her postal vehicle as she traveled westbound on Church Street in June, according to the accident crash report. The van had driven through a red light while Sanders had entered the intersection on a yellow light.

Along with the speed indicator, countdown indicators were added to the intersection to help drivers and pedestrians make safe decisions when moving through the area.

“It was myself, our district manager, our human resource manager and our customer relations coordinator [who] met with Justin (Nickel) and the mayor of Marshalltown,” said USPS Hawkeye District Consumer and Industry Contact Manager Dawn Cook of the delegation that requested the measures in the late summer. “To me, when you’re driving along like that, you can see that [speed indicator] flashing in your face … do you not tend to take your foot off the accelerator and slow down?”

The Hawkeye District covers much of the state and a small portion of Illinois, she said. Cook also said the initial idea of adding speed and countdown indicators at the intersection came from officials in the district’s safety and human resources departments.

“It’s an attention-getter, in a nutshell,” she said. “It’s just to make everybody’s commute a lot safer and save lives.”

Nickel said no data has yet been collected to test if the speed indicator has made an impact on driver speed around the intersection.

“It was a relatively small cost to install and we had no objections against doing it,” he said of city officials. “It’s a permanent fixture as far as we’re concerned.”

Cook said the district has expressed interest in holding an event in Marshalltown to commemorate Sanders’ life sometime in 2018.

For more information, visit ci.marshalltown.ia.us/324/Public-Works

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com