BAR HARBOR — Officials at The Jackson Laboratory are working on both short- and long-term changes to the headquarters’ crosswalk on Route 3.
Last fall, the lab upgraded the Route 3 crosswalk that connects the main campus with a parking lot across the street by installing flashing beacons, new pedestrian crossing signs and speed feedback signs on the approaches.
Now, subject to regulatory and local approvals, the lab’s facilities engineering team will implement enhanced signage, improved lighting and a designated employee drop-off zone at the location, according to the lab’s Chief Operating Officer Katy Longley. More substantial upgrades, such as a stop light at the crossing, could be coming in 2022. Plans will be shared with the community as they are developed, she said.
In December, a lab employee died after she was hit by a driver in the crosswalk. McKenna Unobskey, an animal care supervisor at the lab, was crossing the road when she was hit by a man with his Jeep. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The crash came up earlier this month when the lab gave its annual report to the Bar Harbor Town Council.
“It was a tragic incident,” Longley said at the meeting. “We are still grieving over that.”
Although things have gotten better, council member Matthew Hochman called that section a “tough crossing.”
“I almost got hit there the other day even with the lights flashing,” he said.
The lab has retained safety consultants and engineers to improve the safety of the crossing, as well as a planned crossing for the lab housing project off Route 3 on Woodlands Lane.
There are plans to relocate the entrance to the parking lot near the crosswalk, the installation of manually activated stop lights, new curbing and the extension of a sidewalk from Schooner Head Road to campus.
Other improvements designed to increase visibility and to slow traffic are also in the plans, according to Longley. These would be incorporated into upgrades for other transportation modes on campus.
During the meeting, John Fitzpatrick, the lab’s senior facilities director, said that several years down the line, the lab was looking at possibly putting a bridge at the intersection.