FDOT tweeted this yesterday.
What’s wrong in this photo? Here are a couple observations.
- Who is this crosswalk serving? Look at the adjacent land uses. Largely undeveloped other than a few intersecting low volume roadways. There are no visible sidewalks in the photo parallel to the right of way. And there shouldn’t be, because this road section is well designed for high speed car travel. And that’s a good thing. We get into trouble when we confuse roads and streets, which have very different objectives. This is a well designed road, designed for moving cars quickly from A to B. Putting “pedestrian bling” in the clear zone just confuses matters and creates truly dangerous obstacles for high speed vehicular travel
- The “crosswalk” street name signage is cute, but completely ineffective in this environment. It’s human scale signage designed to be read at human speed (less than 20 mph), not in a car doing 50+ mph.
- Push button and flashing pedestrian light complete with decorative pole. All the trappings of a safe street environment. None of the effectiveness, in practice.
- The notion that we should expect cars to stop on a dime for a pedestrian in this environment is absurd. Six lanes, three in each direction, with speeds easily exceeding 50 mph just guessing from the road geometry.
Just as walkability advocates need to be rigorous about the places where walkability makes sense, we also need to be rigorous about places where it doesn’t make sense. FDOT, spare us the pedestrian bling and save your money on creating safer, better pedestrian infrastructure where it makes sense and will be used.
[h/t to Strong Towns for much of the inspiration of this post]
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