City commissioners are set to decide tonight how to best accommodate pedestrians on a busy stretch of Sixth Street.
The city's traffic engineers are recommending that the city build a $40,000 to $50,000 pedestrian island near the intersection of Sixth and Louisiana streets.
The island, which would be upwards of 10 feet wide, would give pedestrians a safe place to stand in the middle of the road while trying to cross the four-lane city road.
"Trying to get all the way across Sixth Street can be pretty difficult," said David Woosley, the city's traffic engineer.
But the device would eliminate the ability of eastbound traffic to make left-hand turns onto Louisiana Street. Two neighborhood groups - the Old West Lawrence Neighborhood Assn. and the Pinckney Neighborhood Assn. - are urging city commissioners to study the idea further.
Work currently is under way to repave and restripe Sixth Street between Alabama and Tennessee streets to add a center turn lane to the road.
Malcolm Lodwick, president of the Old West Lawrence Neighborhood Assn., said his members wanted to see how that project progressed before moving ahead with anything else.
"Our understanding for restriping Sixth Street was to make it more traffic-friendly," Lodwick said. "It seems to us that we should see how this works before we add more complexity."
City staff members began studying the issue of a pedestrian crossing because they had heard from several members of the public who said the stretch of road was difficult to cross.
Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. tonight at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.