A high-visibility crosswalk has been installed on U.S. 64 at Valley Street thanks to the persistence of a school crossing guard who wants to see even more done on the busy highway to ensure child safety.

On March 5, the N.C. Department of Transportation installed a high-visibility crosswalk with signage to serve students from Hendersonville Elementary and Hendersonville Middle.

Rather than the standard two single lines running across the road indicating a crossing, large white blocks running with traffic were installed along with reflective yellow signs on either side of the road pointing to the crosswalk.

The week before, Kim Bertram, who works as a reserve crossing guard, spoke during public comment at the Hendersonville City Council meeting. He advocated for a high-visibility crosswalk due to the increase in traffic he’s seen over the years.

“I used to have a little white belt that I had around me,” said Bertram. “Now we have these neon jackets.”

The Ninth Avenue circulation study conducted by the city in 2016 recommended high-visibility crosswalks be installed at the North Whitted Street and Valley Street intersections on U.S. 64 to improve crossing safety.

But Bertram noticed that it had been two years and nothing was done. He arraigned a meeting in February to follow up on the situation with John Bryant, associate superintendent of Henderson County Public Schools.

Bryant got in touch with NCDOT District Engineer Steve Cannon, who told him the crosswalk would be installed ASAP the week of March 5.

“It’s been a long, wet, icy winter,” Cannon told Bryant in an email.

Bertram attended Monday's School Board meeting to thank Bryant for getting the ball rolling.

“It’s been two years before there was any action,” he told the board. “And the reason there was any action was because of my friend Dr. John Bryant.”

But Bertram also wanted to see more done at the intersection, particularly flashing yellow lights.

“People’s attention spans are getting short these days, folks,” Bertram told the board, while holding up his cell phone. “They’ve got these things, and they’re looking at them.”

But Cannon told Bertram that lights couldn’t be installed because there wasn't a stop sign there. Bertram said there isn’t a stop sign at the crosswalk where U.S. 64 West meets Immaculata Catholic School, but there are two flashing yellow lights hanging over the three-lane road.

School Board Chair Amy Lynn Holt told Bertram they will look into the issue.

Bertram also thanked Parking Services Supervisor Anita Lockhart and Capt. Bruce Simonds with the Hendersonville Police Department for stepping up patrols in the area, though it’s still not safe enough, he said.

NCDOT Division 14 Traffic Engineer Steven Buchanan said they have not received a request to install high-visibility crosswalks at North Whitted Street, but if the city expresses an interest, they would be willing to do it.