Barter Theatre

Abingdon Town Manager Jimmy Morani said improvements to the crosswalk at the Barter Theatre will be made to increase visibility. Most of the vegetation around the crosswalk will be removed to prevent distractions from pedestrians and drivers.

ABINGDON, Va. — That dangerous crosswalk at the center of town continues to inspire debate in Abingdon.

This crosswalk connects Barter Theatre to the Martha Washington Inn. Yet it’s been the scene of two accidents in recent months.

Now, says Abingdon Town Manager Jimmy Morani, improvements are forthcoming to that pedestrian passage.

First up is a plan to better illuminate the Main Street crosswalk, Morani reported at the Jan. 6 meeting of the Abingdon Town Council.

White stripes have been added to both sides of the crosswalk, and reflective tape is slated to be added to pedestrian posts at the crosswalk “to draw attention to the actual sign,” Morani said.

“We’re trying to just do some things,” said Morani. “They may or may not make a difference.”

One idea: The vegetation at the crosswalk “could be seen as a distraction” and a “visual obstacle,” Morani said. “So we wanted to remove it.”

Additionally, another street light is set to be added at the crosswalk, Morani said. “There’s some electrical work that needs to be done,” he added.

“We’re trying to make our best effort to enhance the visibility,” Morani said. “It won’t hurt to illuminate it more.”

Vice Mayor Cindy Patterson said she’s studied that crosswalk recently. One night, at 9:11 p.m., she said she observed two people leaving the Barter Theatre, wearing dark clothes, and they came across the crosswalk — without touching the safe-to-cross button.

Jackie Blevins, who works for Barter Theatre, said ushers are being encouraged to go outside and press that safe-to-cross button for patrons.

“And I really hope that folks would slow down in that area,” Patterson said, “because that is a big problem. In my opinion, it is. … I come through there at a crawl. I very highly respect that crossing.”

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