While walking along Floyd Street at the University of Louisville, I was astonished to find a fancy new crosswalk installed to connect the Swain Student Activities Center with the Cardinal Park athletic fields. Louisville has plenty of mid-block crosswalks where a stoplight or stop sign isn’t feasible or even desirable, but, as I have noted before, our older mid-block crosswalks can fail miserably.
At other mid-block crosswalks around town, the pedestrian may have the right-of-way, but it’s up to the motorists to know how such a crosswalk works and then actually stop. Results are usually mixed and the pedestrian must be on high-guard at all times. Now, the University of Louisville’s new crosswalk makes crossing the street a little bit easier and a lot safer.
The Floyd Street crosswalk is similar to an example from Seattle (check the video in the last post) that responds to a pedestrian crossing the street. Two bollards detect a pedestrian ready to cross and activate flashing lights embedded into the street and several others lining the perimeter of adjacent signs. After watching several students cross the street and motorists immediately stop each time, it’s clear that there’s something to the design.
You may have seen mid-block crosswalks with perpetually blinking lights warning drivers to pay caution. These new lights only flash when there is a pedestrian present. Could it be that motorists have become numb to the older lights and tend to ignore them? The small lights in the pavement on each side of the crosswalk also help as well and are visible clearly during the day.
So does this work now because of its novelty or could this design prove valuable years down the road? Whatever the answer, it would be great to see this model adopted in other parts of the city.
- Crossing In Pedestrian Style In Seattle, Louisville, and England (Broken Sidewalk)