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Big Horn Avenue pedestrian crosswalk test will be in effect for start of school year in Cody

A 3-month pedestrian crosswalk test just west of the intersection of Freedom Street and Big Horn Avenue intersection will be installed prior to the beginning of the 2022-23 school year in Cody.

The crosswalk test will include a painted crosswalk with push button warning lights, a pedestrian refuge island in the middle of Big Horn Avenue, and a barrier to eliminate left-hand turns from Big Horn Avenue and Freedom Street.

The testing was approved last week by the Cody Urban Systems and Traffic Committee after an evaluation of multiple alternatives by Stantec, the traffic consultant working on the Big Horn Avenue Corridor Study.

The crosswalk test will be in place from the start of the school year until the Thanksgiving holiday, said City of Cody Public Works Director Phillip Bowman.

"While this type of crosswalk testing could be inconvenient for motorists, it does give Stantec, Wyoming Department of Transportation and the Cody Urban Systems and Traffic Committee an opportunity to evaluate the alternative under live traffic while protecting pedestrians," Bowman said.

During the 3-month period, the City of Cody will open the gate at the east end of Cougar Avenue near the Cody Middle School. This action will allow parents and other school traffic to use Stone Street and 33rd Street, via a pair of short gravel roads, to access Big Horn Avenue (US14A) and the middle school from the east end of town toward Powell.

"We understand changes to the existing traffic patterns are likely at the middle school and surrounding areas as this testing is performed, especially on Cougar Avenue and Blackburn Street as drivers find new and different routes due to the left turn restrictions at Freedom Street," Bowman said.

Park County School District 6 Trustee Stefanie Bell told the Urban Systems and Traffic Committee that the Cody Middle School morning schedule's start time will be 8:15 a.m., and the district will run an additional bus route for the 40-plus middle school students who live on the north side of US14A (Big Horn Avenue). The later bus route will provide a new opportunity for students to travel safely across US14A in the mornings.

The later start time for Cody Middle School "should create a 15-minute gap which may help distribute traffic at Cody Middle School, which also functions as the school district's transportation hub," Bell said.

Bowman said a pair of public listening sessions are still planned. One of the sessions, currently planned for late September or early October, will give citizens an opportunity to review the viable alternatives emerging from the Big Horn Avenue Corridor Study. It will also provide an opportunity for public comment on the crosswalk testing on Big Horn Avenue. The second public listening session will take place later this year, and citizens will be presented with recommended alternatives for the Big Horn Avenue corridor prior to publishing the final report.