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Archive for Thursday, May 27, 2004

Pay attention

May 27, 2004

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A new crosswalk marker may help avoid a serious accident in front of the Lawrence Arts Center.

It seems likely that a new sign in the crosswalk leading to the Lawrence Arts Center could be a life-saving measure.

The vertical sign, a new design recently approved by the Federal Highway Administration, warns motorists that state law requires vehicles to yield for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Hopefully, the sign will draw enough attention to the crosswalk to avoid a serious car-pedestrian accident there.

The design of the brick crosswalk is attractive, but somewhat unobtrusive. Traffic coming in and out of the city parking garage on the west side of New Hampshire Street is an added distraction. Especially after dark, it may be hard to see pedestrians, and, unfortunately, too many motorists aren't taking the time to look very hard.

It's amazing how often drivers will look right at a pedestrian waiting on the curb and then drive right through a downtown crosswalk rather than stopping to let the pedestrian pass. Sometimes they even wave, if their free hand isn't holding a telephone.

One pedestrian has been struck by a car in the New Hampshire Street crosswalk within the last year. A crosswalk, like this one, in the middle of the block perhaps demands some more distinct marking. Hopefully, the new sign will serve as a reminder for motorists to be more attentive not only at that crosswalk but at all others around the city.

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