Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vigilantes Paint Their Own Crosswalk In PA Neighborhood

During a recent round of "Roundtable Discussions" we hosted asking people what they think of our current transportation system, a theme that kept coming up was crosswalks. People are upset that many aren't painted around here, despite some studies that say many pedestrians are struck by vehicles in them because of a false sense of security. They think a crosswalk is an obvious sign that cars need to stop for them, so they step out in it and get hit.

Well apparently we're not the only community struggling with the crosswalk conundrum (did I really just write that?). Vigilantes took street markings into their own hands in a busy Pittsburgh, PA neighborhood intersection and painted four amateur crosswalks. Granted, the crosswalks are all of varying width, but the painter(s) did manage to measure up with the ADA ramps.

Residents of the neighborhood have complained to the city for years that the intersection is dangerous, but are told they can't paint every four way intersection and traffic through the area isn't high enough to warrant a crosswalk. Here's the rest of the story.


Anonymous said...

Can you please cite the studies that are commonly referred to? The only studies that I have seen reach conclusions based purely on numbers, not factoring in the volume of pedestrians crossing the street in vs. outside of the crosswalks.

I often hear that saying from local traffic engineers as well. I'm not saying it is false, I just want to see the study myself. Maybe you can help me out?

SRTC Staff said...

Sure, let me dig around a little and get back to you ASAP. I used to have them in my files but not sure anymore afer a major file cleanout. Also, for the record, SRTC hasn't taken a stance on the topic. We hear and see the studies but we also hear from members of the public who say they're willing to risk it; they want a crosswalk, especially in school zones.

SRTC Staff said...

Ok, I dug out a study by the USDOT on Safety Effects of Marked Vs. Unmarked Crosswalks that you can find here:

It says on multi-lane roads with no raised medians and
average daily traffic (ADT) numbers greater than 12,000, sites with marked crosswalks had higher pedestrian crash rates than unmarked crossings. And On multi-lane roads (roads with 3 to 8 lanes) with raised medians and vehicle ADT’s greater than 15,000, a significantly higher pedestrian crash rate was associated with marked crosswalk sites compared to unmarked sites.

So there's some reading material for you. I've been told though that in the past couple years, a new study has come out refuting that. While I remember someone mentioning it, I don't believe they cited a source and I couldn't find any reference to it in my files. My internet research didn't turn up anything either.

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.