Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Crosswalk to improve pedestrian safety

The Traffic Commission supported the BPNA’s request for a multi-way stop and a pedestrian striped crosswalk at the intersection of Allen and Henderson Streets to safeguard pedestrians crossing Henderson into Bryan Park or onto the sidewalk. As part of their process, they sent City engineer Justin Wyckoff to examine the situation and make a recommendation.

BPNA’s president Jan Sorby says, “Henderson has a posted 20 mph speed limit. Justin Wykoff did a traffic study at the intersection which showed that only 3% of drivers observed the limit. He clocked cars passing this school/park zone at speeds as high as 57 mph. The Traffic Commission was so shocked at the horrendous speeds they requested Justin to come up with something different than just a stop sign.”

The drawing above shows the solution to slowing traffic on this stretch of Henderson. It adds an island dividing the lanes of traffic and providing a protected space midway where pedestrians can stand if on-coming traffic prevents them from completing the crossing. (Parents with children have been known to drive three blocks to the park rather than attempt crossing on foot with a toddler and a stroller, Sorby points out.)

On either side of the cross walk at midpoint is a planter for vegetation, which neighbors have promised to tend. The strategy is to make the space look and feel narrower to drivers so that they drive more carefully.

This drawing also shows the realignment of the Bryan Park parking lot entrance with Allen St. and the new sidewalk on the western side of Henderson, a future improvement. Currently the only sidewalk on this stretch of Henderson borders Bryan Park and continues south to Templeton Elementary School. Crossing Henderson is particularly dangerous during the peak hours when children need to walk to school.

Missing from this drawing are the stop signs to be added on the approaches to the crosswalk. In order to implement what the Traffic Commission has approved, there is a formality to satisfy. City ordinance requires a certain level of traffic to warrant putting a stop sign on a street. Traffic on Henderson exceeds that level, but traffic on Allen and out of the parking lot normally falls below that level.

As a result, District 5 City Council Member Isabel Piedmont is expected to introduce the multi-way stop request as an amendment to the ordinance when City Council meets on June 25 or July 2, as the schedule permits. City Council will vote on it at the next meeting. Bryan Park neighbors and other city residents will have an opportunity to provide input on the request at the first meeting.

Source: BPNA Newsletter, June 2008

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