#LetterToTheEditor #YourVoice #SpotlightNews
In a recent letter to customers explaining the need for a rate hike, our waste hauler used the term “wishful recycling.” By that they meant trying to recycle things that are not recyclable.
That word “wishful” came to mind when I read a recent article in this paper about a future roundabout in Glenmont.
Planners explained how crosswalks at the roundabout would make it safe for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross. Reading this immediately made me think that these were “wishful crosswalks,” meaning crosswalks that do not really work.
I walk around town a lot and encounter several signed and lined crosswalks on Delaware and Elsmere avenues. While I haven’t actually counted, my estimate is that when the crosswalk signs are actually honored, at least five cars go by before one direction of traffic stops and kind of shames the other direction into stopping. Most of the time I have to wait for a break in traffic to get across the street. And, unlike roundabouts, these crosswalks are on straight streets with long and good lines of sight.
In a roundabout scenario, drivers taking the first right exit have been looking left to judge the roundabout traffic. They likely haven’t even glanced to the right to check the crosswalk which comes up quickly after turning. Since drivers don’t have to stop or use turn signals when entering a roundabout, pedestrians have no idea what drivers plan to do.
I’ve tried using a crosswalk at a local roundabout twice and did not have the wonderful experience road planners predict. The normal clues a pedestrian uses when crossing a street were gone. The only safe way to cross the “wishful crosswalk” was to wait for a break in traffic entering the roundabout.
To keep pedestrians actually safe, a STOP sign or signal a pedestrian can activate that tells drivers they must stop is needed. Those aren’t perfect but work much better than some painted lines on the street.
— Frank Kuwik,