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LA MESA, Calif. — The busiest traffic signals in La Mesa will be reprogrammed in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“We shouldn’t be making people choose between being safe from cars and being safe from this pandemic,” said La Mesa City Councilman Colin Parent.

Parent noted that the number of pedestrians in La Mesa has increased as gyms remain closed and many turn to outdoor exercise. Some resort to using their their elbows or feet to press the crosswalk button, Parent said. But soon they will not have to.

Council members approved a plan to eliminate the need to press the crosswalk button. Starting early next week, six high-volume intersections will be reprogrammed. They will automatically display pedestrian crossing signals for every light cycle, eliminating the need to touch the potentially contaminated button.

Parent expects the signals at La Mesa Boulevard and Spring Street to be reprogrammed first by city staff and an existing maintenance contract.