Crosswalk confusion slowing traffic

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Motorists are urged to proceed cautiously through the crosswalk area if no pedestrians are crossing and when the lights are not flashing. There is no need for a complete stop. Photo by Hannah Richardson

Times Lifestyle Editor Hannah Richardson observed traffic at the new crosswalk on University Parkway on two occasions, once from 3-3:30 p.m. Monday as school was dismissed and again at 4:45-5:15 p.m. Monday as traffic increased as people got off work.

The observations were prompted by reports of pedestrians not utilizing the button to activate the signals and increased traffic congestion, especially at high traffic periods.

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DOTD Public Information Officer Erin Buchanan clarified the proper procedures for utilizing the crosswalk. “When a pedestrian is at the crosswalk and needs to cross, they should press the button to activate the beacons. The purpose of the flashing beacons is to alert motorists that a pedestrian is waiting to cross, and the motorist should stop. Motorists don’t need to stop every time they approach the crosswalk and there is no one waiting to cross. They should, instead, proceed with caution through the area,” Buchanan said.

“Pedestrians are strongly reminded to utilize the button-activated flashing beacons so motorists are aware someone is waiting to cross. As with anything new, the operation of the crosswalk will take some adjusting for both pedestrians and motorists. We appreciate everyone’s patience as they adjust to the crosswalk, which is providing a much safer crossing on University Parkway.”

One problem observed was pedestrians not utilizing the crosswalk causing motorists to have to stop again, thereby further slowing traffic