Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Raised Pedestrian Road Intersections

Some examples of raised cross walks.

I would love to see more raised crosswalks (as above) and intersections, or at least one in Calgary and Edmonton.  Raised crosswalks enable a pedestrian to cross a road seamlessly.  Rather than having the sidewalk slope down to the road level and back up at the other end of the road, these crosswalks continue at sidewalk height across the road.  Raised crosswalks are an extended form of a speed bump, in fact they have the same traffic calming effect on cars.  Since a car has to go up and down over the crosswalk it ensures that cars passing through slow down.  Another safety bonus is that since a pedestrian is crossing the street an additional six inches higher, this serves to make them more visible to oncoming cars. 

As seen in the photo below you could install central medians as another great safety feature.  The raised curbs of the median act as barrier to passing vehicles.  If traffic is clear in the direction nearest to you, cross the lanes into the median refuge.  When the timing works (and motorists start choose to obey the law and stop for a pedestrian) then you only have one more direction of traffic to cross, not two.  This makes it safer for those that have mobility issues and cannot move as quickly across the street. These medians are great for cyclists as well.

 An example of a raised cross walk with a protective pedestrian refuge.

These crossings are great for those of age, since most elders often have mobility issues.  By keeping sidewalks at the same grade while crossing you decrease the chance that a senior will slip or trip over the curb.  A person in a wheelchair puts less strain on their muscles as it is one less incline they have to pull their body weight up.  There is also less of a chance of their wheels getting caught in a gutter.  These crosswalks will needed soon especially with the baby boomers entering their senior years.

Another feature that I would love to see are complete intersections being raised as seen below.  These have the same benefits as before as far as traffic calming and easier pedestrian crossings.  However by raising whole intersections you can make it easier for pedestrians to make diagonal crossings without the change in altitude.    Accidents are the most frequent within intersections, so if you reduce the speed that someone can traverse through an intersection you can reduce the number of accidents.

An example of a raised intersection.

1 comment:

  1. I never knew there was such a thing as a raised crosswalk. It makes total sense.