Two Newark officials spent Friday morning walking the streets of downtown to see if they could cross intersections before walk signals changed.

Two Newark officials spent Friday morning walking the streets of downtown to see if they could cross intersections before walk signals changed.

"We just want to gauge it," service director Kathleen Barch said.

Newark resident Shari Gaston has brought the issue to Newark City Council's attention. Gaston said she regularly attends council meetings but has trouble getting to City Hall when crossing Main Street, which is five lanes wide and usually is busy with traffic.

"We are encouraging more people to be out and explore downtown to visit the shops. And we want people to walk and bike for health reasons," community development director Judith Carr said. "There are a number of reasons why we need to address this."

Barch said Friday's jaunt was intended to give the two more perspective on how quickly the lights are changing at different intersections.

Carr said the two noticed wider streets don't allow for enough time to cross, such as at Fourth and Church streets.

A few solutions have been suggested, such as extending the amount of time to cross streets, installing countdowns that show people how many seconds are left until the light changes or installing small medians to give people a stopping point halfway across the street.

Changing timing would be the least expensive, Carr said. The others would require some funding to complete.

"My recommendation is to extend the walking time," Carr said but added that she's not sure how that would affect local traffic patterns.

Carr said at least two intersections have the lights that count down and show how many seconds are left while crossing: one at Cherry Valley Elementary School on West Main Street and at Carson Elementary School on East Main Street.

She said if one of the more expensive solutions is chosen, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding might be available to help with costs.

Carr said a solution probably will be chosen quickly.