City looking into skywalks to enhance safety

Commerce – The City of Commerce is exploring funding options for skywalks at both university crosswalks in town.

Interim City Manager Marc Clayton said Tuesday he's received interest from the public into the skywalks following recent accidents at the Highway 50 and Culver St crosswalks. He's since found that TxDot has fully funding similar projects in the past.

"They would need a request from entities involved which in this case would be the City and the University," Clayton said. "They would also want both entities to be involved in the planning and designing."

It was unclear if the funding would come by way of grant or a requested project.

"The next step I would think [is] to have a meeting with the University to see and be sure that it's something that they would want to pursue also," Clayton said. "I've not personally talked to anybody out there. We got some requests from some individual citizens to look into this."

Clayton added the skywalks, if installed, should be enclosed to enhance the safety.

Clayton also asked TxDot if any of the city's current projects could be redirected to include skywalks, but was told that wouldn't be possible. Commerce is currently pursuing a grant toward the installation of new sidewalks downtown.

The University's Director of Facilities David McKenna says he's also looked into the possibility of skywalks, but was unclear if the project could be entirely funding by TxDot.

"If TxDot wanted to pay for it that'd fine with, but I don't have any guarantees on that," said McKenna.

He also pointed out the issue of finding the space to put a skywalk with all the various state regulations and the size of the structure itself.

A&M-Commerce earlier this year worked with the city to install two pedestrian activated flashing crosswalk warning systems. Within the next couple of weeks, censor pads will be installed which will automatically sense when a pedestrian is crossing the road and activate the lights.