The La Mesa City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to reset high-traffic pedestrian crosswalk signals to make them touchless in an effort to protect residents from the spread of COVID-19.
Councilmember Colin Parent proposed the measure on Monday so that residents wouldn’t have to touch the crosswalk signals. He said it is important
“Right now, we need to make sure everyone is being safe and you shouldn’t be forcing people to choose to be safe from being hit by cars or being safe from COVID-19,” he told NBC 7.
Beginning next week, crews will begin to manually reprogram pedestrian crosswalk signals to make them hands-free. The goal is to reset three high-traffic pedestrian signals a week.
Staff have yet to determine what signals will be reprogrammed first, but Councilmember Parent believes the signals at the intersection of La Mesa Boulevard and Spring Street will be one of the first to undergo the transformation.
The changes will not impact the city’s budget since it should be covered by existing staff time and by the contract La Mesa has with the company that will be working on the resets, Parent said.
The Councilmember said it is not clear if the signals will remain hands-free once the coronavirus pandemic is over but right now, the City Council is focusing on the immediate danger and making necessary changes.
Parent reminds residents that while they must follow the stay-at-home order, it is OK to go outside for a walk or bicycle ride.
“It’s good for your health to get outdoors but you need to do it safely,” he said. “Practice proper social distancing and do those activities either by yourself or just with your household.”