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New lights at Blackstone and Fedora target jaywalking in central Fresno

A pedestrian dashes across Blackstone Avenue at Fedora Avenue, where new traffic lights are going up.
A pedestrian dashes across Blackstone Avenue at Fedora Avenue, where new traffic lights are going up. The Fresno Bee

A $400,000 traffic signal system paid for by a federal grant is going up at Blackstone and Fedora avenues, the central Fresno intersection where jaywalkers have battled the city’s best efforts to bring them to heel for years.

That means by the end of the year, pedestrians crossing from Fort Miller Middle School and apartments on the west side of Blackstone to the city’s FAX transfer station on the east will be able to legally cross the busy thoroughfare – provided they wait for a green light.

Deputy Police Chief Andy Hall said Fresno officers have staged dozens of pedestrian operations at the intersection over the years. The goal: to dissuade scofflaws from crossing at Fedora.

Still, walkers and bicyclists weaving through oncoming 40 mph traffic remain a common sight. The area also was the scene of a fatal collision in 2008, when a 14-year-old girl who attended Fort Miller was hit by a pickup while crossing.

Illegal crossers ignore a signal light just a street south at Dayton Avenue, so whether the new lights will end the surge remains an open question. Scott Mozier, the city’s public works director, is hopeful.

“It will greatly help people make that choice,” he said. Mozier also noted that the additional traffic signals at Fedora shouldn’t slow motorists, because they will be synchronized with other Blackstone lights.

Mozier said the construction of the new signals is costing about $304,000. The total expense is about $400,000, including design plans, but he noted that since the money comes from the grant, none of the expense involves the city’s general fund.

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