In response to a recent spate of midnight crosswalk painting in the St. Helens and Wright Park areas of Tacoma, city officials are trying to spread the word that rather than enhance safety, such rogue crosswalks can create hazards.
In a press release issued Friday, the city said deciding where crosswalks go is part of a process that includes traffic studies and applying national standards. Unofficial painting of crosswalks could lead to prosecution, the city warned.
“We understand and empathize with our citizens’ desire for more pedestrian facilities, but this form of vandalism is not acceptable and can quickly become a significant resource drain and safety hazard. The City will pursue legal action against those engaged in this kind of illegal activity,” said City Manager T.C. Broadnax in the statement.
Here is the rest of the statement, that includes instructions on how residents can alert the city to hazards and pursue official crosswalk painting:
Crosswalk markings create visual emphasis for drivers and guide pedestrians to the best crossing locations. Therefore, poorly located crosswalks lead to safety concerns and the City will continue to act swiftly to remove unofficial markings.
Before creating any new crosswalk, City staff use standards from the Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to help determine when conditions are favorable. Considerations include: pedestrian and traffic volumes, street width, traffic speed, sight distance, collision history, traffic control devices and ADA accessibility.
Each year, City staff prioritize new pedestrian facilities in an equitable process designed to place improvements throughout the community where they are most needed. Tacoma citizens with traffic safety concerns are encouraged to use the City’s proper channels to request Engineering Division review by calling (253) 591-5500.
Here is Lewis Kamb’s recent article on the issue. More crosswalks have been painted in the area since this was written.