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Tacoma trying to discourage rogue crosswalks, calls them safety hazards and warns of prosecution

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on June 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm with 3 Comments »
June 7, 2013 4:00 pm

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.

City crews painted over this unofficial crosswalk in St. Helens neighborhood (Lewis Kamb photo)
City crews painted over this unofficial crosswalk in St. Helens neighborhood (Lewis Kamb photo)

“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.

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. johnesherman says:

    Maybe the City of Tacoma could first fix the South 19th Street (East and West travel direction) vehicle traffic control signal (traffic devices) for vehicle travel turning South toward South Tyler Street or turning North towards Stevens Street; it follows, this roadway turn lane detection loop traffic control device(s) will not detect motorcycle for turn signal change. Now that would be something to fix first instead of street repainting. Spend your time checking out your existing traffic control equipment and repainting pavement worn existing traffic control marks!

    Maybe the City of Tacoma can make available to Citizens of Tacoma, available from for access fromj within their new City of Tacoma website, all these past traffic study results in written format related to every City of Tacoma roadway. You know the traffic studies. This should be some interesting reading to see just how we got what we have today?

  2. johnesherman says:

    And since you want to follow rules: Here is one: It follows, these presence sensing traffic signals should be maintained (tuned or fixed). As described within Washington RCW 47.36.025 “Vehicle-activated traffic control signals — Detection of motorcycles and bicycles presents”

    “(2) During routine maintenance or monitoring activities, but subject to the availability of funds:

    (a) All existing vehicle-activated traffic control signals that do not currently routinely and reliably detect motorcycles and bicycles must be adjusted to do so to the extent that the existing equipment is capable consistent with safe traffic control. Priority must be given to existing vehicle-activated traffic control signals for which complaints relating to motorcycle or bicycle detection have been received and existing vehicle-activated traffic control signals that are otherwise identified as a detection problem for motorcyclists or bicyclists, or both. Jurisdictions operating existing vehicle-activated traffic control signals shall establish and publicize a procedure for filing these complaints in writing or by e-mail, and maintain a record of these complaints and responses; and . . .”

  3. Well, what do the peons know? We’re only the source of their designated authority. Where in the world did we get the idea that we’re smarter than gubmint?

    How about speed humps instead of rogue crosswalks? Every place the city finds a rogue crosswalk it puts that location at the top of the list for making a speed hump there.

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