Harkins, Merski: Nearly $400K secured for pedestrian safety

Will fund accessible pedestrian signal buttons for Erie

ERIE, Jan. 4 – A new grant of $395,769 will fund intersection improvements to better protect Erie pedestrians with visual or hearing impairments and those in wheelchairs, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today.

The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding from PennDOT’s Automated Red-Light Enforcement program will allow the city to install 30 accessible pedestrian signal buttons. The devices, which are placed at a height that allows them to be used by pedestrians in wheelchairs, also include features for vision- and hearing-impaired pedestrians.

“Simple modifications like adding accessible pedestrian signal buttons can make a huge difference for pedestrians in wheelchairs and those who are blind or have low vision or other disabilities,” Harkins said.

“Mobility is a key component of independent living,” Merski said. “In addition to enhancing safety, the new equipment will make it possible for more Erie residents to find that independence.”

Funding for ARLA grants comes from judgements for red light violations at 36 intersections in Philadelphia. The funding can be used for projects that improve safety, enhance mobility or reduce congestion.