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Columbus Cross Walks a Hazzard For Pedestrians

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Columbus Cross Walks a Hazzard For Pedestrians

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  • #67346

    DAMES BOND
    Member

    I fear for pedestrians in Columbus who walk primarily in downtown and in the Short North. Cross walks are there to help pedestrians go to and from work or play SAFELY, but many drivers are not following the rules.

    From what I understand, there is a $100 fine for every driver who doesn’t obey the cross walk rule.

    One day last month I filmed a busy cross walk on 4th and Elm Streets and was amazed at how many cars negated their responsibility to allow pedestrians to walk safely across the street. See the video on You Tube:

    It took one pedestrian 56 seconds to cross while she watched cars speed by! If all drivers I found to avoid the cross walk rule were fined, the City would have raised nearly $19,000 in less than 8 minutes!

    I spoke with one of the on street vendors who said she’s seen 2 people get hit!

    Better signals and a flashing light would be very helpful! Thanks for helping get the word out that DRIVERS MUST ALLOW Pedestrians to walk SAFELY!

    Thanks, Mary B.

    #201709

    Columbusite
    Member

    If they were preceded by speed humps (wide and not abrupt) and a 25 MPH zone for pedestrians I think you’d see more people following that than a crosswalk with a blinky light a la High St at the convention center. It takes physical modifications to enforce change in behavior, rather than a mere suggestion which is all signage can accomplish on its own. Narrower lanes also keep traffic slower.

    #201710
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    The problem is that Fourth Street is a five-lane highway running through downtown. The speed limit is 35mph, and cars will go 45mph, making it hard to notice pedestrians wanting to cross. The streets have been intentionally re-configured to shuttle cars in and out of downtown as quickly as possible. When the main focus is on the automobiles, pedestrian traffic is an afterthought.

    Fourth and Third should both be made into two-way streets with non-synchronized lights and other traffic calming features. That crossing you recorded on Fourth should have a stop light to allow pedestrians to cross, just like Lynn Alley does currently on Third Street, or Pearl Alley has on Long Street.

    Better signals and flashing lights would be a nice addition, but if we really want our downtown to be filled with vibrant pedestrian traffic, we need to change our infrastructure with a different goal in mind.

    #201711

    DAMES BOND
    Member

    I like your suggestions for a much vibrant downtown. Speed bumps would work and a new traffic signal of some sort. Something is better than what exists! I look forward to hearing your ideas, and more importantly sharing them with the people that can actually do a study and implement the changes needed.

    Afterall, if Columbus really wants to revitalize downtown, improvements must be made. Foot traffic is key.

    #201712

    michaelcoyote
    Participant

    Walker wrote

    Fourth and Third should both be made into two-way streets with non-synchronized lights and other traffic calming features. That crossing you recorded on Fourth should have a stop light to allow pedestrians to cross, just like Lynn Alley does currently on Third Street, or Pearl Alley has on Long Street.

    Some city I’ve been too (I forget where) Had signs all over the place “LIGHTS SYNCHRONIZED FOR XX MPH”, and this seemed to do a good job of setting the speed limit. I think if this was set to a reasonable rate (say 30 MPH) it would be it could help a bit and still allow people to drive downtown (the car isn’t going away, so…).

    I think another big help would be nice wide bicycle lanes in the mix. Adding cyclists to the traffic would slow things down and could make it easier for pedestrians.

    As an aside, I love riding some of the one way streets (especially in low traffic) because I can often hit several lights at once and make very good time. As a cyclist I think I hate lights more than a driver.

    While I’m not a huge fan of the one way streets in downtown, I think there could be ways of making them work.

    On the other hand, I seem to recall reading a study a few years ago about how if you make an intersection “seem” more dangerous, e.g.. replacing curbs with smooth transitions from sidewalk to street, removing selected signage, replacing one way streets with two way streets, installing roundabouts, etc., this did a lot to calm traffic as drivers would feel less secure about driving and be forced into paying attention [/b]

    #201713

    California has a pedestrian right-of-way law, and it is enforced! Vehicles must stop for pedestrians, no matter if they are in a crosswalk, jaywalking, or walking through a parking lot. If they are in traffic, you have to stop.

    I always thought it should be the law here as well. If fact, after moving back it took me a little while to learn that it was dangerous to stop for a pedestrian around here; if you stop, the car behind you will more than likely go around you and nail the pedestrian that you just waved on across. :shock:

    #201714

    DAMES BOND
    Member

    You’re right about putting pedestrians in harms way when you do obey the law….. when I DO stop, and I ALWAYS do, the cars to the side of me and in back rarely do. You can see the hesitation from walkers in fear for their lives. Thanks for your comments. Hope we can make a difference!

    #201715
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Yep, I just had that exact problem last night when driving on Front/Park Street. There’s a pedestrian crosswalk between the North Market and the Spice Bar and I stopped to let a few people cross and the woman behind me pulled around me into the other lane only to stop real hard when she realized there were people crossing. She looked embarrassed. Must have assumed I was either double-parking to let someone out of the car or was trying to back up into parallel spot.

    I’m not sure how something like that can be totally avoided. A flashing light might help, but if people aren’t paying attention, they’re not paying attention.

    #201716

    lifeontwowheels
    Participant

    Probably the best example of how to work this is on campus. Right across from the Student Union there is a traffic signal to stop cars just for pedestrians to cross.

    ETA

    In Bexley at Main/College the lights seem to be timed so that pedestrians get a walk like about 5-10 seconds before drivers get the green.

    Of course one of the best ways is reverting these monstrosities into 2 way streets with center medians like Gay St to calm traffic and provide a bit of refuge for pedestrians crossing.

    #201717

    Matthew
    Participant

    Speedbumps aren’t the answer. Snowplows remove those every year and it costs thousands to replace.

    I think the best solution is when they put those flexible stop signs between each lane in both directions at the crosswalk. Most drivers are unsure how wide their vehicles are on the passenger side, and so they slow down to avoid hitting these signs. If one does get hit it just goes down and springs right back up again.

    #201718

    DAMES BOND
    Member

    Interesting….I don’t think I’ve seen those around?

    You’re right about plowing problems. Islands in the middle would also be problematic I suppose.

    Another option to ponder.

    #201719

    jazzypants
    Member

    The crosswalk in that video is terrible for pedestrians- it looks like it’s right after an intersection, which means if a car stops for a pedestrian it’s just hanging out in an intersection, plus the multiple lanes and no light- I fault civil engineers for this one, not the drivers. If I got ticketed there I’d be raising hell because that’s a terrible design for a crosswalk.

    #201720

    DAMES BOND
    Member

    Actually, there is a traffic light immediately after the cross walk most drivers want to avoid so they speed by. I filmed this on a fairly light day, right before lunch hour. Can you imagine what it’s like during or right after lunch hour, not to mention immediately after work. Crazy!

    #201721

    marymo
    Member

    Walker wrote Yep, I just had that exact problem last night when driving on Front/Park Street. There’s a pedestrian crosswalk between the North Market and the Spice Bar and I stopped to let a few people cross and the woman behind me pulled around me into the other lane only to stop real hard when she realized there were people crossing. She looked embarrassed. Must have assumed I was either double-parking to let someone out of the car or was trying to back up into parallel spot.

    My commute home goes through that crosswalk and that scenario has happened to me about half a dozen times. I always slow down (just a little) to avoid running over someone who might be about to cross but obstructed by the parking in front of North Market. I would say about 90% of the time, some jerk behind me thinks I’m not going fast enough and speeds past going upwards of 40 mph to pass me before the Park/Goodale intersection. Twice one of these people almost hit a pedestrian. :shock:

    #201722

    A. Miller
    Participant

    Great video. I keep telling myself I’m going to make some of these in regards to both bicycling and pedestrian safety but I’ve been saying that for probably 2+ years and haven’t done it, I suck.

    Anyhow, a couple things which sort of contradict each other. First is to talk about a city like Kirkland Washington. Just outside of Seattle, a priviledged suburb full of huge SUVs etc. Thing is that they aggressively ticket for automobile/pedestrian issues. As soon as you step near a crosswalk everyone stops and lets you go. It is the most empowering feeling to know that you can walk all over this city and not feel like you are have to fear for your life everytime you cross the street. With that in mind there are people walking and bicycling EVERYWHERE in that suburb. I’d liken it to say UA or Bexley which are pretty much the exact opposite in pedestrian friendliness. Kirkland’s enforcement is backed up with tons of signage, MUPs, bikelanes, etc.

    Someone mentioned the removal of signage. There was a traffic engineer in the Netherlands who tried an experiment which had great success where ALL traffic signage (including road striping and traffic lights) was removed. Basically it forced all of the drivers to focus on their surroundings because they could no longer put trust in other drivers and road users to follow the rules, because their were no rules anymore. I’m not sure that this would work here because our culture is so obsessed with ME ME ME. When traffic lights are out because of a power outage you often see people blowing through them without concern for who’s turn it is and I think a removal of signage would have similar consequences here.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 73 total)

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