VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Northampton Boulevard is far from pedestrian-friendly. It’s an eight-lane busy road lined with businesses with very few crosswalks.
It has been the site of several crashes involving pedestrians, including one this Monday night. 56-year-old Aubrey Dion Parker was crossing the street in the 5800 block of Northampton Boulevard, near Baker Road, when he was hit by a car. He died from his injuries at the scene.
“There’s a lot of traffic and you know it takes so long to get to the other side,” said Norfolk resident, Sammy Bass, who often walks the area.
From the crosswalk at the intersection of Northampton Boulevard and Diamond Springs Road to the next crosswalk at the intersection of Northampton Boulevard and the Premium Outlets is a mile walk, which puts in perspective why someone may take the risk to run across instead of trekking that distance to legally cross.
While 10 On Your Side was out along that stretch of road Tuesday, several pedestrians were hoofing it from one side to the other, including Walter Pariona.
“It is dangerous. The drivers don’t even really acknowledge you honestly. Yeah, they should have more crosswalks,” Pariona said.
Bass admits he’s risked it too.
“I just shoot on across real quick, but it’s real dangerous. That’s something we have to work on because we don’t need to be losing people,” Bass said.
Virginia Beach Public Works officials confirmed to 10 On Your Side a project was recently awarded to construct a pedestrian crossing at Burton Station. Another is planned for Baker Road. That’s the same intersection where local boxing legend Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker was killed in the summer of 2019. It’s also where Monday night’s deadly crash occurred.
The Burton Station crosswalk construction starts Monday; the one at Baker Road is anticipated to be completed in the next six months.
Drew Lankford with Virginia Beach Public Works says the work calls for the installation of a number of safety features, including the installation of a crosswalk across Northampton Boulevard, pedestrian signal poles on the western corners of Burton Station and Northampton, as well as a pole in the median with a push button signal, and handicap ramps. He says the contractor has been gathering materials and lining up the subcontractors to begin the work.