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Neo

Crosswalks in downtown...

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I'm not sure of the 'techical' name for methods of painting crosswalks but I noticed something new today when checking out the 210 Trade webcam. The crosswalks by the arena have been painted and now contain a pattern instead of being the standard striped crosswalks that I've grown to hate about Charlotte. It seems every other city uses the patterned type. IMO the pattern method is MUCH more identifying as a pedestrian crosswalk. I can see that the switch happened on either March 9th or 10th and didn't bother to nail down the exact time, but that's when the change occured. You can check it on the 210 Trade webcam at http://oxblue.com/client/flahertycollins/twotentrade/

Could the city be planning to repaint all of the crosswalks in the same manner as they're up for a new paint job?

post-1-1205962116_thumb.jpg

post-1-1205962116_thumb.jpg

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Is Trade a DOT street or a city street? ChiefJoJo can probably clarify this, but I believe NCDOT's policy is to put the thermoplastic down in the lateral "zebra stripe" pattern only when "pedestrian traffic is not expected." Two parallel stripes are used where a motorist would normally expect pedestrian traffic, which would be at basically any signalized intersection. So, for example, Zebra stripes are used at mid-block crosswalks, where a greenway crosses a road at a point not coincidental with a signalized intersection, or at an at-grade crossing of a major highway.

I'm not sure what the motivation for this policy is. It is perhaps that thermoplastic paint is fairly expensive to install, and thus a cost issue, or also perhaps that the thermoplastic is quite a bit more slippery than asphalt (when wet, at least) and could lead to accidents.

In this case, anyway, all three of those crosswalks might qualify as "mid-block." The one halfway between Brevard and the tracks for obvious reasons; the ones at Brevard & Trade because Brevard does not continue across trade. Is there a traffic signal at that intersection?

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In the british world, these are known as zebra crossings. There are a few others downtown, but I can't say they really help change the mindset of the drivers, content to not even slow down even if you are already crossing and partially in their lane.

Drivers in this country absolutely suck in their conscientiousness toward bicyclists and pedestrians. I'd love it if a policeman sat there observing and giving tickets for that like they do for speeding. Not stopping for pedestrians already starting to cross the street is significantly more dangerous than going 10 extra mph on a thoroughfare.

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To be fair, I saw some pretty horrifically close calls in Italy (car vs. bike, mostly). And in Nassau, sidewalk = extra lane.

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What Orulz described is how crosswalks are painted here in Boston. At four-ways stops, it is the normal parallel stripes, at signficant pedestrian crossing areas where a motorist isn't likely to expect crossings, or in areas where traffic usually travels at higher speeds, they use the "piano keys" (my preferred term to zebra stripes).

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter, as Dubone said, 90% of the drivers are too self-absorbed to consider that they don't legally have the right of way in all situations....of if they do realize it, they just can't spend 10 seconds of their important life to let someone cross.

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(I must have not refreshed, as I didn't read Orulz post before I posted.) Those criteria for determining when to use zebra crossings do make sense, although in this case at the arena, there is a light there and an intersection. Perhaps due to the confluence of high pedestrian traffic (next to arena and bus center) and it being a T intersection caused them to put them here. But ped traffic alone doesn't seem to be enough, as Trade and Tryon doesn't have zebra crossings, and that is arguably the most heavily crossed intersection by pedestrians.

I do like some of the additional indicators in Britain for pedestrian crossings, such as the jagged lines.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Wavy_li...an_crossing.jpg

We likely need as many indicators as we can, as those drivers just simply do not stop. Having not grown up in this country, I am someone who walks out onto a crosswalk if the car has enough time to stop. But in 3/4 of the time, the drivers just keep on going, and either cut right in front of me or behind me in a scary lane change maneuvre., (and this is downtown where people should always expect pedestrians). When they stop, they are usually very pissed at my audacity to cross their street. It was very refreshing to be back in northern Europe where you might not actually be out onto the crosswalk yet, but the drivers still make an effort to stop for you.

I am happy to be getting more striped 'zebra' crossings here, but I would like to see signs blanketing downtown that remind drivers 'Always Stop For Pedestrians'. It would be especially nice if they could 'Jackass' to the end of that, but that is just dreaming.

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If Charlotte (or any city) wanted to make the streets twice as safe for pedestrians, they would ban right turns on red downtown. To get drivers to pay attention, signs would have to be posted at all intersections, and the rule would probably have to be photo-enforced.

Not that this will ever happen, since right turn on red is included in the Bill of Rights as inalienable to any American. It's somewhere in the first ammendment, isn't it? Just after the freedom of speech. I shudder to think of the protest and, likley, litigation that would ensue were Council to discuss this.

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The type of crosswalk here is referred to as a "piano" crosswalk, which is a variant of the international (aka: zebra) style. It minimizes wear and tear on the paint by spacing it so the wheels of passing cars are 'generally' in between the paint.

Is Trade a DOT street or a city street? ChiefJoJo can probably clarify this, but I believe NCDOT's policy is to put the thermoplastic down in the lateral "zebra stripe" pattern only when "pedestrian traffic is not expected." Two parallel stripes are used where a motorist would normally expect pedestrian traffic, which would be at basically any signalized intersection. So, for example, Zebra stripes are used at mid-block crosswalks, where a greenway crosses a road at a point not coincidental with a signalized intersection, or at an at-grade crossing of a major highway.

I'm not sure what the motivation for this policy is. It is perhaps that thermoplastic paint is fairly expensive to install, and thus a cost issue, or also perhaps that the thermoplastic is quite a bit more slippery than asphalt (when wet, at least) and could lead to accidents.

In this case, anyway, all three of those crosswalks might qualify as "mid-block." The one halfway between Brevard and the tracks for obvious reasons; the ones at Brevard & Trade because Brevard does not continue across trade. Is there a traffic signal at that intersection?

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While I know it's not feasible in all locations, I much prefer the brick-paved crosswalks. I think it does more to "dignify" the pedestrian.

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Pedestrians have a right to cross at all intersections, marked or unmarked, in all conditions. Cars are supposed to stop for pedestrians at all intersections and let them pass- even if there is no 'marked' crosswalk. This right is rarely utilized because doing so often means putting one's life into someone else's hands (which probably contain a cell phone), but its a right nonetheless. Pedestrians technically don't have the right to cross mid-block unless it is a marked crosswalk- meaning that cars do not have to yield the ROW to pedestrians in this instance.

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IMO, the problem with two-parallel-striped crosswalks is that they blend into the "stop" markings that keep cars out of the intersection. If you go to any intersection at any time, you'll find people who use the crosswalk as their stopping point, which intimidates pedestrians and jams up the flow of traffic for everyone. I very very strongly prefer zebra crosswalks, which make it very clear that there is a separate avenue of traffic which needs to be respected by the drivers if they don't plan to be sued for striking a pedestrian.

I agree that brick or cobblestone paved crosswalks are the ideal, and it seems like they would've been installed long ago on busy streets like Tryon.

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While I know it's not feasible in all locations, I much prefer the brick-paved crosswalks. I think it does more to "dignify" the pedestrian.

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They cost more so the city usually won't pay for it (I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere). The neighborhood or business requesting them has to foot the extra bill.

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You may want to double check that, because I've heard the city pays for it, but usually they have to be requested before they're painted.

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