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The crosswalk quest continues

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

The crosswalk quest continues

Postby narcoleptish » Wed May 12, 2010 8:54 am

This has been the basis of some long ugly threads in the past, but it's still pertinent and Town Vibe needs a boost.

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/ ... 03286.html

The battle continues to turn Madison into a city that stops for pedestrians. It's a nice idea, I just wonder how successful it can be in a city so used to pedestrians stopping for cars. A city full of older drivers who do not expect people to walk out in front of them. A city of increasingly distracted drivers and their little media machines. Many of us have seen the scary situation where someone assumes the holdup is for a left turn and goes flying down the right parking lane.

And what about uneven enforcement? If it's a law on Williamson st. why isn't it a law on E. Wash or Northport? Regent? University Ave?

People speak of visiting cities where if you step into the street, all traffic just comes to a halt. I've been around and I have never experienced this. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, I just think it's a little embellished.
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 12, 2010 9:09 am

I'm all for this except in the cases where the pedestrian is a jack ass. Peds, of which I am a frequent one, have to realize that a car traveling even 15 to 20 miles an hour can't stop on a dime. I can't tell you how many times someone has walked out in front of my car, without even bothering to look, and forced me to stop very suddenly. I pay close attention to folks on the sidewalks trying to anticipate if they are going to cross. I'm not a mind reader although.

narcoleptish wrote:A city of increasingly distracted drivers and their little media machines


This is also a problem with pedestrians. So many people walking and texting and not paying any attention to whats around them. I've actually had people walk into me while strolling around downtown and campus.
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby bleurose » Wed May 12, 2010 10:49 am

Several years ago a new freshman at the University of Illinois stepped off the curb while busily yammering into a cell phone. The bus won. Chlorine in the gene pool.....
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby snoqueen » Wed May 12, 2010 11:55 am

I would never teach a kid to do the "make the cars stop" type of crossing.

Just a few days I was coming down Walter Street (east side, off Milwaukee St.) and a little kid was sort of loitering at the curb, not exactly crossing, not exactly not crossing. You know how little kids are. Well, I stopped for him (I'm in my car) and then he turned around and faced the other way as if he was waiting for a friend, so I very slowly went ahead.

Then in my rear view, I saw the next car doing the same thing, trying to stop for the kid. This time the kid decided to cross.

And of course, the vehicle behind the stopped car decided waiting was way too stupid and he passed -- fast -- on the right. I honestly shut my eyes -- I was sure the kid was going to be hit.

Somehow, he wasn't -- he was going too slow to be in the right lane when the second vehicle whizzed by. But it was a miracle he got across safely.

This particular accident is just too easy. I know being militant and telling your kid he's got the right of way sounds good, but drivers are dumb and cars are big and I would never, ever teach a kid to cross that way. Wait until no one is coming, look both ways, and cross quickly and purposefully.

If a bunch of big burly cops and another bunch of belligerent pedestrian-rights types want to play this game, I'll stop my car every time within the laws of physics. But I don't cross that way when I am a pedestrian and I can't see why anyone else would unless they're being paid well and have good insurance.
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby boston_jeff » Wed May 12, 2010 12:07 pm

In Brookline, MA crosswalks are marked with orange barrels in the middle of the street that say "Stop for Pedestrians." Cars must stop if a ped has entered the crosswalk. Seemed to work OK, although there were always cars that didn't know the law and sped through, and peds that stepped out when a car was already almost to the crossing. This seems to be the way it works on Willy Street.
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby jman111 » Wed May 12, 2010 12:31 pm

I'm all for stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks....within reason.
The pedestrian who obliviously enters a crosswalk without even bothering to check for traffic will eventually get hit. I have little sympathy for them. My sympathies lie with the drivers who are unable to stop in time when these idiots stroll in front of a moving vehicle.

Two particularly troublesome crossings in my experience:
1- Langdon St by Memorial Union (just east of Park Street)
2- Wright St between MATC and MATC parking lot (just north of Anderson Street)
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby narcoleptish » Wed May 12, 2010 1:05 pm

jman111 wrote:
Two particularly troublesome crossings in my experience:
1- Langdon St by Memorial Union (just east of Park Street)
2- Wright St between MATC and MATC parking lot (just north of Anderson Street)


Yup, you hit one of these spots at the wrong time and you HAVE to break the law to get through. Same with crossing State st. from Gilman.

I want to know how it can be selectively enforced. Lets see some enforcement at E. Wash and Second st. where there are often people in wheelchairs trying to come and go from The Avenue apartment building. I've never seen 6 lanes of traffic yield to any of them, and there's a marked crosswalk there.
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby green union terrace chair » Wed May 12, 2010 1:42 pm

jman111 wrote:I'm all for stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks....within reason.
The pedestrian who obliviously enters a crosswalk without even bothering to check for traffic will eventually get hit. I have little sympathy for them. My sympathies lie with the drivers who are unable to stop in time when these idiots stroll in front of a moving vehicle.

Two particularly troublesome crossings in my experience:
1- Langdon St by Memorial Union (just east of Park Street)


If you're a local, you KNOW to slow way down when approaching this, or the State Street crossing of Johnson or Gorham. Especially the latter two if you're in spread out traffic where pedestrians will try to sneak through against the lights.

But I pity the out-of-towners who drive through that way and come face-to-face with Johnny Misplaced-Perogative.
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby jman111 » Wed May 12, 2010 1:47 pm

I'm curious- does the law differentiate between "uncontrolled" crosswalks (e.g. no traffic signals and, therefore, no "walk/ don't walk" signals) and controlled crossings (e.g. the State St examples)?
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby kissyfish » Wed May 12, 2010 2:53 pm

I have given this some bit of thought over the years. The symbol for a crosswalk is a sort of ladder looking thing painted on the road. Now, during my formative years, I learned quickly that the crosswalk by the union was to be stopped for, but the city appears to have put this same symbol in a lot of spots, where I am not certain if they had the expectation of traffic stopping, or to point out a spot where crossing might occur, like the crosswalk going across midvale, where the bike path intersects up the hill a bit.

Then, there are the orange barrels, but these are not at every crosswalk, so are these the only mandatory stop for pedestrian uncontrolled crosswalks? Or are these just reminders of what we should do everywhere we see that painted ladder looking thing.

I am mostly a pedestrian, so don't mistake this as anything but a genuine question. At the very least, we have been shockingly inconsistent over the past 20-30 years, or maybe I have been shockingly negligent in my attention to the law, or perhaps both.

But I consider myself both a cautious and courteous driver, and pedestrian.
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby narcoleptish » Wed May 12, 2010 4:59 pm

jman111 wrote:I'm curious- does the law differentiate between "uncontrolled" crosswalks (e.g. no traffic signals and, therefore, no "walk/ don't walk" signals) and controlled crossings (e.g. the State St examples)?


At controlled crosswalks pedestrians are supposed to wait for the walk light. Of course now that we have the threat of enforcement we're going to have nervous drivers stopping for people at walk lights, people in the middle of blocks, people standing on their porch looking at the street... My favorite are the bike path stoppers, perhaps confused by the presence of both a marked crosswalk AND a stop sign for the bikes. I err on the side of my own convenience and make the bikes stop.

I'm now wondering if there is a difference between the "ladder" type painted crosswalks and the non-ladder type?
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby snoqueen » Wed May 12, 2010 5:56 pm

And what about snowy winters and rainy nights when cars can't see the ladder thing until they're right on top of it, if then?

I like the idea of orange barrels. Also, if they put small solar-powered flashing lights on short poles, even out-of-town drivers would know what to do. You shouldn't have to be a regular to tell.
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby rabble » Wed May 12, 2010 6:26 pm

narcoleptish wrote: I err on the side of my own convenience and make the bikes stop.

When I'm on a bike I err on the side of my own health and stop, and shake my head at any cars that stop. "No, YOU go and then I'll go. I'm not in the mood to be the rightest guy in the critical ward."
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby Exploding Pinto » Wed May 12, 2010 6:31 pm

bleurose wrote:Several years ago a new freshman at the University of Illinois stepped off the curb while busily yammering into a cell phone. The bus won. Chlorine in the gene pool.....


Well don’t you sound like a complete asshole?

And several years ago someone in Thailand got hit by a scooter too—what’s your point? One of those new freshman, huh?
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Re: The crosswalk quest continues

Postby green union terrace chair » Wed May 12, 2010 6:33 pm

narcoleptish wrote:I'm now wondering if there is a difference between the "ladder" type painted crosswalks and the non-ladder type?


Someone mentioned in a previous thread that there is not a difference in terms of enforcement or who must yield right-of-way.

Please note that my source is "someone in a previous thread."
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