SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield city leaders came to AIC Thursday to reveal their plans for a new crosswalk, in memory of an AIC employee who was killed last month.
“We come together because of a tragedy with Lani Kretchmar,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
Lani Kretschmar of Agawam was 65 years old when she was struck and killed by a car near the intersection of Wilbraham Road and Massachusetts Avenue on July 13. She was an AIC alum and had worked at the school for the last 10 years.
AIC Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Frank Colaccino, said, “Lani was well-thought of throughout. She was an executive assistant and also assistant to the board and to me as chair. We are missing her.”
Lani’s death came in an area where police say they have ticketed hundreds of drivers for speeding. Mayor Sarno said they will create a new crosswalk in memory of her to prevent future pedestrian accidents. There is now a crossing guard to help pedestrians cross the street but by the end of the year, the plan is to have a raised crosswalk with a new hawk light system. However, in order it to be effective you have to use it correctly.
“They have to push the button. If they don’t push it, the light won’t turn red and the cars won’t stop. We have to educate them to do that, and they have to be a little patient and wait a few seconds for it to work,” said Colaccino.
They also will make the road more narrow, with the hope it’ll trigger drivers to slow down.
“The roadway now is 40 feet. We are going to narrow it down to 24, so that there will be a visual roadway,” said Springfield DPW Director Chris Cignoli. He said the design phase is now underway for the construction project, that has a price tag of half a million dollars.
It should only be a few more months until we see that new crosswalk on Wilbraham Road. The city expects to have construction done by the end of December.