Friday, May 22, 2009

Making Franklin Safe for Pedestrians: Grass Roots Crossing Guard Event

Throughout Franklin Planning events, participants repeatedly pointed out how hard it can be to cross Franklin – especially during the evening rush hour. Our task forces suggested having volunteer crossing guards help raise pedestrian visibility on Franklin. On Bike Walk Day, Thursday May 14th, we organized grass roots crossing guards at three high traffic intersections on Franklin (24th, 25th and 26th Aves). We wore brightly colored vests and carried bright yellow flags to alert drivers of pedestrians who needed to cross the street. We also handed out flyers the summarized right of way laws.

Through our interactions with people walking on Franklin, we learned that most pedestrians do not know that they had the right of way at all intersections. Even if there isn’t a marked crosswalk, a pedestrian has a right to cross as long as approaching cars are far enough away to easily stop. Since most cars don’t obey this law, pedestrians are often trapped at intersections or even in the middle of the street as they wait for cross-traffic to stop. Many walkers were grateful to have the crossing guard escort them across the street, and expressed how it is too difficult and dangerous to cross at the unmarked intersections like 24th and 25th. Redesign hopes to organize more grass roots crossing events in the future again, to continue reminding pedestrians and cars of this issue.


Bill Lindeke said...

do you have any photos of this? it sounds awesome.

Garden Monkey said...

Can we borrow this idea? It is Fantastic!!! I have been trying to think of a way to do something like this, but maybe just 'grass roots' volunteering is the way to go!
Thanks for the post, and the Blog!

sheldon said...

To Garden Monkey. Sure, feel free to use the idea. It was Seward Redesign that came up with it. If Minneapolis Public Works gets more pressure from more neighborhoods, it will help us all.

Matt said...

I had no idea pedestrians had the right away where there's no indication of a crosswalk. Good to learn. Maybe the city could mark the crosswalks, as I think crosswalk markings are a visual clue that alert the driver to slow down and keep their eyes open. (A side note: There are so many places in Minneapolis where even lane markings are no longer visible)