Decatur’s “Brick” Crosswalks Coming In January

Photo from The Decatur Minute

With all the recent talk about pedestrians vs. motorists vs. cyclists and general crosswalk issues around the city, I thought it would be timely to remind everyone about the stamped concrete asphalt crosswalks that will soon be poured around the city.

Currently Decatur has only one slightly raised, stamped concrete crosswalk: at Ponce and East Courthouse Square.  But soon, we’ll have seven more!

The Decatur city commission just approved a bid by Traffic Calming USA at last Monday’s meeting and Asst. City Manager Lyn Menne tells DM that the crosswalks will most likely be poured after the holidays in January to avoid traffic issues. “Generally January is very slow…Looks like they want to start around January 4th.”

Where will you see these new crosswalks?  At some of the city’s most dangerous (and talked about) crosswalk locations, that’s where!

  • Mid-block 200 E Ponce de Leon Avenue between the Decatur Renaissance Condominiums and the Townsquare Condominiums
  • Ponce de Leon Avenue at Clairemont Avenue (All 3 legs of intersection)
  • W Ponce de Leon Ave at Marshall Street
  • W Ponce de Leon at Fairview Avenue
  • West Howard Avenue at Adair Street
  • SR 155 South Candler Street at Doughtery Street
  • SR155 South Candler Street at the Agnes Scott College parking lot driveway

The West Howard crosswalk is hands-down the most complained about here, so it will be interesting to hear if driving and crossing habits change once it is slightly elevated and poured.  Stay tuned.

30 thoughts on “Decatur’s “Brick” Crosswalks Coming In January”

  1. I think these are great-looking crosswalks and, in my opinion, are much more noticeable to drivers than lines painted on the streets. Thus, I think that makes them safer for peds. I’m looking forward to walking on the finished products.

  2. Uhm, don’t drivers have a hard time noticing people in crosswalks? You know, vertical shapes standing between them and Dairy Queen. I don’t see how these flat crosswalks are going to get drivers off their phones, out of their backseats, and theirs heads out of their–.

    1. They aren’t completely flat, so they condition drivers to expect a hump in the road.

      Though it’s only a slight hump, I predict they’ll make a considerable difference on faster roads like Howard and S. Candler. Hit one at 50 mph and you’ll feel it.

      1. Now the hump/bump in the road could be a little after the fact though, and the bump could also be a pedestrian.
        Though, at the very least, they’ll look nice I guess.

  3. now if the CIty (and county?) can make the cross-walk “buttons” that peds are supposed to push to cross the street, 1) easier to understand — several are not marked with arrows indicating the direction you wish to cross, and 2) functional — some seem to not work consistently.

    1. It is DeKalb County. Unfortunately, they have responsibility for all traffic signals in the City. IMHO, they can’t even install a stop sign correctly.

    2. I think these “buttons” are part of the problem. How many times have I stood at an intersection wondering if the button works or if I have come too late and I have to wait till the next round to have a turn to walk. Why do we have buttons at all? Why can’t the walk signal illuminate on it’s own the way it does in other cities. I have lived in a few more pedestrian friendly cities and buttons are not a part of the process. Secondly, we need to change the driving culture in Decatur. What about a public health campaign? We need to teach people here when it is the pedestrians turn to walk, and when it is the drivers turn. The pedestrian has the right away in a cross walk and with the signal. The driver has the right away with a green light.

    3. I can’t find the article about it, but I recall reading that the crosswalk buttons in some major city are all disconnected. Nothing happens when you press it, so it acts as a placebo and you think you’re crossing faster than you actually are.

  4. Don’t sound so pessimistic, Andisheh. I’ve heard President Obama is considering slipping in an announcement about this very subject during his Afghan policy speech next week.

  5. how about a simple stop sign in front of the high school….it’s amazing and scary to watch the kids attempt to cross and have cars speed by them while they are in the crosswalk. do we have to wait for a teen to get hit before we do something about it? even with the school cop in front of the school, no one seems to care. how about he write some tickets?

  6. Since early October, I’ve use the S. Candler St/Agnes Scott parking lot crossing daily. Not once, never, absolutely, absolutely never has anyone ever stopped while I stood there waiting at the crossing. I have been tempted to bring a basket of water balloons and heave them at cars as they pass at 50 mph. I’d love to see the Decatur Police set up shop and issue tickets there for a day.
    So anything would be an improvement.

    1. I always confuse, confound and just generally perturb the drivers behind me because I always stop for pedestrians at the crosswalks on Candler. Maybe I have too much faith in humanity but a little part of me always hopes drivers will notice my good deed and take heed next time they see a Agnes Scott student trying to get to class or a Renfroe Middle Schooler walking home.

      1. “Maybe I have too much faith in humanity but a little part of me always hopes drivers will notice my good deed…”

        Clearly, you are confused.

  7. I vote for the crosswalk across from the Decatur Renaissance condos. The cars that have been backed up waiting for the Church St. light to change get the irresistable urge to treat the next stretch like the Decatur Autobahn, even if they run over senior citizens going to the library and kids walking over to the rec center. I have literally had do the “John Cleese” Ministry of Silly Walks within the crosswalk and stare down wayward speeding drivers as my six-year-old obliviously believes he is under the government’s protection from the cars.

    Much to my amazement, the police are more likely to enforce vehicle code violations (seat belts, tail lights, expired tags) than flag drivers that fail to yield the right of way. Frankly, I would give anything to have one of the officers dress up like a senior citizen and walk back and forth in front of my condo as bait for the speeders. OK, the Decatur scale would shift away from Berkeley to Mayberry, but even Andy Taylor would support Barney Fife on this one. This last comment, incidentally, applies to any of these new crosswalks.

    Thanks for listening to my rant.

    1. Decatur police do in fact run crosswalk stings from time to time. I have seen cars ticketed for blowing the crosswalk at Starbucks even with two Decatur officers standing right there on the sidewalk.

  8. This little bit of surfacing is a positive step towards pedestrian protection. However, on a rainy night, even when concentrating on the periphery of the existing raised crosswalks, it’s very hard to see a pedestrian about to enter the walkway. A distracted or speeding driver wouldn’t even be aware of the people they’re brushing by.

    An on-demand pedestrian crossing signal such as this..
    would be a helpful addition.

    1. That would be a good idea. When I lived in London, there were crosswalks that had flashing yellow lights mounted on 8-ft. (or so) posts on either side of the road where the crosswalks began, and about a dozen small strips of a reflective material lining the width of the sidewalk. There must have been sensors of some sort embedded in those strips, because when you were about to cross, the flashing yellow lights came on as soon as you stepped on the part of the sidewalk where the crosswalk began. Even drivers who were a ways off yet would know someone was crossing (or about to), and would stop. I was told there were hefty penalties for drivers who were caught ignoring those lights, and I believe it, because I never once had anyone push the limits like drivers do here.

  9. Does anyone know if this is related to the work they are doing at Derrydown and Columbia? It looks like they’ve been pouring foundations on all four corners for new light posts, however it’s not clear what they’re up to.

  10. This is GREAT news!
    If we could only get them installed on I-20 and I-285, we might not have so many pedestrian killed. Oh what the heck, let’s even put them in across the interchange of I-285 & I-75.

  11. Both mid-block crossblocks and traffic lights are a huge problem for pedestrians in Decatur. I can’t count the number of times that eager motorists have flashed by me as I prepared to walk across the street while the pedestrian signal was ON, especially people turning right. Somehow, they are in such a hurry to get on with their journey that they choose to ignore the pedestrian light and the people (me) trying to cross on that signal. The signal doesn’t last very long — you have to practically sprint across 4-6 lanes to reach the opposite curb, so if you wait for someone to make their right turn, you often have very little time left to cross with the light. AND, the pedestrian lights often DO-NOT-WORK-AT-ALL, which leaves the pedestrian in a quandry as to when and how to cross at all! I think the new crosswalks will be nice looking, but won’t help all that much, because motorists feel so entitled to 100% of the road that they won’t stop for pedestrians. They don’t stop now, so why will a few colorful, slightly-raised asphalt strips make them stop? Flashing lights and dozens of traffic tickets are the only deterrent I can suggest.

  12. I believe there are some studies that indicate that a significantly different style of “street” for a crosswalk helps with ped safety. Of course, there are always those that won’t stop for a train, much less a pedestrian. And, since the crosswalk signals and light timing is a Dekalb County issue, it seems that this is something Decatur can do to make things a little safer for us peds. FYI, pedestrians have the right of way in a cross walk only when they are actually IN the crosswalk not just looking like they are going to cross. They must be given the right-of-way for one lane of traffic beyond where the driver will cross the walk. So, you really have to stick a foot or bike tire into the crosswalk in order to have the legal right-of-way. In my utopia, Decatur would not only have raised, decorative cross walks, but better timed lights with a lag time where all ways are red lights to allow pedestrians to cross. We’d also have cross walk signals that work regardless of whether you push the button or not. And, the mid street crossings would have pedestrian controlled flashing lights like at the ASC crossing on S McDonough. Of course, all of this is no use if the police are not enforcing the laws and the residents are acting as good examples while in our cars. How is the challenge of driving the speed limit going? Thanks to the City Commission for the commitment to making our streets safer for everyone! Keep up the good work and don’t stop pestering the county.

  13. Speaking of “stamped faux cobblestone”, has anyone seen the insanity that’s been going on south of Memorial on Candler? One wonders who got the contract (and how it was awarded) to re-do the sidewalks with stamped cobblestone and what really gets me is the absolutely ridiculous decision to install lampposts while leaving the powerlines above-ground. Talk about Lipstick on a Pig.


  14. When I’m walking, it seems like all motorists either have their brains disengaged or have resolved to mow down as many pedestrians and bikes as they can. When I’m driving, I’m equally likely to get fed up with other motorists and with careless pedestrians and cyclists.

    Maybe we need a new across-the-board policy to go with these new crosswalks: anybody violating somebody else’s right-of-way is fair game for assault by pudding balloon. This goes for motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, anybody!

  15. Y’all, brick pavers or stamped red asphalt are not nearly as visible as painted reflective white crosswalk stripes. The “piano bar” stripped crosswalks have been well studied and well regarded for visibility. The as the red pavement gets dirty it quickly turns gray or black and becomes nearly invisible in low-light situations. I haven’t seen the city’s designs for the new brick crosswalks but hopefully they will install additional white stripping or better yet either in-ground or overhead flashing lights.

Comments are closed.