Westfield city leaders to improve pedestrian safety along Monon Trail

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WESTFIELD, Ind.- As the weather warms up, so many runners, walkers, and bikers will be heading to the Monon. Westfield city leaders know safety upgrades are much needed at some intersections along the Monon.

 “Every time I see a pedestrian hit and killed it hurts. It hurts knowing that could’ve been me,” said Stephanie Woods, a runner.

Stephanie Woods is an avid runner.  In July of 2019, she went for a run on the Monon in Westfield.  It was her first time on that stretch near 161st.

“I remember running north. I remember stopping and looking, seeing an SUV slowing down and that was about it,” said Woods.

An SUV hit Woods as she was crossing 161st and sent her to the hospital.

“I had a lot of bruising, a concussion, and two broken bones. Surprisingly they were minor,” said Woods.

Westfield city leaders are ready to make changes and it starts at 161st and the Monon.

“From a public safety network, it’s probably our top concern,” said Jeremy Lollar, director of Westfield Public Works.

The Westfield Department of Public Works is in the process of installing a HAWK signal at the 161st/Monon intersection. A HAWK signal is a pedestrian-activated traffic signal that stops the cars and allows pedestrians to go through.

“You see a red light as opposed to a flashing yellow. A lot of people tend to ignore the flashing yellow,” said Woods.

City leaders are also working on a traffic study to take a closer look at all the intersections along the Monon.  Depending on the results, the speed limit could be lowered.

“Keep in mind, that all intersections are different. The volume of traffic is different at each intersection. The line of sight is different at every intersection. The pedestrian use is different at each intersection,” said Lollar.

The long-term plan is to build a tunnel underneath 161st at the Monon connection.  The tunnel is in the design process right now but until then more safety measures are moving forward.

“I think reducing the speed limit is an absolute,” said Woods.

Woods wants drivers to slow down and be more aware.  She realizes she’s lucky to be alive and each mile is a little more meaningful.

“God was there that day for whatever reason that I’m still here,” said Woods.

The HAWK signal will need final financial approval. The estimated cost is $125,000.  The plan is to have the signal installed by the end of May.

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