Some new traffic signs are turning up around Lawrence.
One on Tennessee Street at its intersection with 19th Street informs drivers: "NO turn on red" and in smaller letters "When pedestrians are present." Another sign in Old West Lawrence informs drivers: "Turning traffic MUST yield to pedestrians."
Given that pedestrians always have the right of way and these signs are located near crosswalks, many people might wonder why they are necessary. However, pedestrians in any number of crosswalks around town know why.
Too often drivers focused on vehicle traffic at an intersection pay little attention to the traffic on the sidewalk. A tragic example of this occurred about a week ago when a local postman was struck by a vehicle and seriously injured while he was in a crosswalk at Seventh and New Hampshire streets.
Many pedestrians, especially in the downtown area, report that motorists show little or no regard for pedestrian crosswalks, especially those at mid-block locations. Cautious pedestrians wait to make sure motorists see them and are stopping, but that's sometimes difficult at intersections where vehicles are turning.
It's too bad that additional signs are needed to remind motorists they must give pedestrians the right of way, but if the signs prevent even one car-pedestrian accident, they will have been worth it.