Monday, August 24, 2015

The State of the Crosswalks

In June and again in August, Supervisor Ed Cross (Second Ward) has come to Common Council meetings to complain about crosswalks and the fact that drivers pay no mind to them. A week or so ago, I noticed that crosswalks at Union and Fourth streets, where my dog and I pass at least once a day, had been partially repainted. The parallel lines going from curb to curb had been done, but the diagonal lines in between those parallel lines had not. In my experience, drivers rarely stopped for those crosswalks in the first place. Now it seemed they were going totally unnoticed.

Someone told me that the diagonal lines in the crosswalks were not being painted because, according to Rob Perry, DPW superintendent, they had run out of paint, and there was no money in the budget to buy more. Could this be true? If so, what would that suggest about the mayor's celebrated fiscal thrift and his renown for keeping property taxes low. 

So I sent that above picture to Perry and asked about the crosswalks.
I was wondering why the diagonal stripes had not been painted in the crosswalks at Fourth and Union streets. Drivers rarely acknowledged these crosswalks before, and now, without the diagonal stripes, they don’t even slow down. Someone told me the diagonal stripes had been omitted because DPW had run out of paint and there was no money to buy more. Is this true? Or is there another explanation?
In response, Perry sent me this picture and the message that follows.

In contrast to the pedestrian view your email depicts, the view from approaching traffic shows the crosswalks visible and with supplemental signage in place to draw greater attention to their presence.
As for the cross-hash, there are a number of considerations regarding them, which will be discussed at DPW Committee on Wednesday.
The Common Council Public Works Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26, at City Hall.


  1. In general the entire area is unfriendly to pedestrians ... particularly Fairview Avenue and Columbia street around the park. There are no crosswalks to speak of on Fairview Ave.

  2. Better signage would be a good idea; rather than a cartoon of stick people walking, bold lettering which reads CAUTION: PEDESTRIANS IN CROSS WALK HAVE RIGHT OF WAY, or MOTORISTS MUST YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS IN CROSSWALK. Maybe all those defunct "No Dogs Allowed" signs could be recycled for this purpose.