A Stop at Crosswalk Ordinance is Only One Needed Treatment
Last night, without excessive discussion, the Traverse City Commission approved to vote at the October 3, 2011 meeting to amend the TC Code of Ordinances to require vehicles to stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks. The discussion that did take place was more concerned about the trunk lines running through the city that really aren’t likely to be impacted by this local ordinance; being state roadways, they require a complete other bag of tricks to impact safety and speeds; a bold city ordinance will only help that cause.
Commissioner Ralph Sofferdine did raise some interesting concerns about creating a “false sense of safety” for pedestrians without adequate pavement treatments for marked crosswalks. It is a legitimate point, but one that also needn’t stop this current city commission from enacting an ordinance that may be slightly ahead of our street designs, education programs and enforcement regime.
Establishing the expectation that when approaching a marked, un-signalized crosswalk and a pedestrian wishes to cross that we come to a complete stop is something that all of the 70 miles of local streets (most of which are 25-mph zones) could benefit from. It is one small step to altering the culture endemic in the community that streets are solely for the use and enjoyment of one mode of transportation. The ordinance will more clearly put the onus on the person in or on a vehicle to acquiesce to the people simply wishing to cross the road.
Consider emailing the City in support of a city-wide ordinance requiring complete stops at marked cross-walks when pedestrians present. They will likely pass the ordinance on Oct. 3rd, but it’d be silly to see it constrained to a small location or otherwise watered-down.
* In-street yield to pedestrian signs like that shown above have “proved to be very effective” in influencing motorists behavior. It stands to reason that in-street stop for pedestrian signs would do the same. In New Haven, CT an extensive safety program has shown positive results with the in-street signs as well.
“Public health authorities and traffic engineers have extensive data showing that in-street signs are highly effective at increasing pedestrian safety.”