NSU, DOTD develop crosswalk for pedestrian safety

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announces the installation of a new crosswalk on LA 6 (University Parkway) near Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.

The crosswalk – which is a partnership between DOTD, NSU and the NSU Foundation – is located near the intersection of LA 6 and North Street in front of the Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library on the university campus.

“The safety of NSU students, LSMSA students and everyone who utilizes our campus amenities on both sides of University Parkway is vitally important,” said Jennifer Kelly, assistant to the Provost for Academic Support and Auxiliary Services. “We offer many thanks to the cooperation with DOTD that helped expedite the process of installing the new crosswalk.”

Kelly said the flow of traffic into and out of the Watson Library parking lot will also change. Motorists will now enter the Watson parking lot at the entrances directly in front of the NSU Marketplace bookstore and exit the parking lot at the exit across from North Street.

“This change will ensure the safety of both pedestrians and motorists on University Parkway,” she added.

The crosswalk includes a center refuge island where pedestrians are able to stand and wait safely, if necessary, before proceeding to cross the highway. It also features two rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB) that are push-button activated. These beacons can enhance safety by reducing crashes between vehicles and pedestrians at mid-block crossings. The RRFBs increase driver awareness of potential pedestrian conflicts through the use of an irregular flash pattern.

“Ensuring safe mobility for pedestrians is a priority for DOTD, and we were pleased to be able to work closely with NSU and the NSU Foundation to see the installation of this crosswalk from conception to installation,” said Troy Roussell, P.E., District Engineer Administrator for the Alexandria region.

Additionally, NSU constructed a new sidewalk on campus adjacent to the library leading to the crosswalk. This addition was made to interconnect the existing sidewalk between a nearby campus parking lot and the library to encourage pedestrian use of the crosswalk. Repairs were also made to a portion of the sidewalk on the north side of LA 6 leading to the crosswalk from the new campus bookstore and Chick-fil-A.

DOTD encourages pedestrians to utilize the new crosswalk when attempting to cross LA 6 and reminds motorists to stop when the beacons are flashing and a pedestrian is waiting to cross. Motorists are urged to avoid distracted driving and obey the posted speed limit.