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?