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.

My Low Cost Campaign For Zig-Zag Lines

I’m sorry, but apparently planning talk is like a siren’s call to me.

As I mentioned in a previous post, city commission candidate Patti Garrett is proposing ideas on how to improve pedestrian safety along that car sewer we call College Avenue over on her new blog.  Among the ideas are “low cost bandaids”.  Patti writes…

Certainly there are interim measures that can help calm the traffic, increase the alertness of pedestrians, walkers and bikers, and increase awareness of everyone involved that they all have a role to play in making this work.

Is there a way to call attention to the intersections that alerts pedestrians, bicyclers, drivers that those marked are “dangerous intersections”? Mark the pavement? Use crossing flags? Place pedestrian makers in street similar to those used at intersections without a light? Other traffic calming measures that increase pedestrian safety?

This reminded me of a quick and relatively cheap ped-friendly idea I saw while on my recent trip to Bermuda: zig-zag lines!

I think this is genius.  Instead of the familiar double yellow line causally leading a zoned-out driver headlong into a white, striped crosswalk, this change to a broken zig-zag unnerves and alerts the driver that something is about to change and that they should sit up and pay attention.

I’d guess that about 90% of the reason cars don’t stop for pedestrians in crosswalks has to do with not seeing them.  I know that as a driver, I often find myself swearing at the dashboard as I blow through a crosswalk having not seen the now-disappointed dog walker waiting to cross.  Zig-zag lines can help remedy this problem, giving the driver a cheap and effective heads-up.

Do I hear a second?

Decatur's New and Improved Crosswalk

OK, I know only runners, dog-walkers and people that walk get excited about crosswalks, but this one could be the “wave of the future”.

Over on The Decatur Minute, Catherine discussed the new crosswalk being installed across Ponce at East Courthouse Square, and how the city will close the street on Sunday evening (around 7p) to do the work.

Though Catherine’s post said that the new crosswalk would be more visable, I was curious to know what physical changes would be made.  So I followed up with Catherine and she told me that the new crosswalk would be textured with “faux-brick pavers”  and be slightly raised (though still handicap accessible) in an effort to make it more visible to drivers.

I’m pretty sure that this is a pretty tried and true method for making crosswalks safer for pedestrians.  A slight rise in elevation combined with the texture forces drivers to slow down and take note of us walkers.  Even so, the city will test it on Ponce before applying it more widely throughout the city.