Perhaps it’s the four lanes of traffic that speed past on Glendale Boulevard or the fact that the nearest crosswalk with a traffic signal is nearly 1,000 feet away. For whatever reason, someone asked the city’s Department of Transportation to install flashing yellow lights at the marked crosswalk at Glendale Boulevard and Deane Street in Silver Lake to improve pedestrian safety. But after conducting a study, city engineers determined that there is no need for flashing yellow lights. In fact, there is no need for a marked crosswalk, which department staff say should be eliminated as part a “traffic safety improvement.”
“I know it seems counter intuitive,” said a city traffic engineer familiar with the crosswalk. But “at this point our intention is to remove it.”
The crosswalk is located up the street from where pedestrians are frequently seen dashing across Glendale Boulevard between several shops, restaurants and bars, including the Red Lion Tavern and Rockaway Records. Some people on the east side of Glendale use the Deane crosswalk as part of their route to get to the Silver Lake reservoirs and Silver Lake Meadow.
But when engineers conducted a traffic study at the intersection in early April, the results showed that the number of pedestrians who used the intersection was not large enough to warrant a marked crosswalk, let alone flashing yellow lights to warn and slow down motorists.
“We did not see the minimum number of pedestrians according to our guidelines,” said the city traffic engineer, who did not want his name published.
He did not know how the marked crosswalk was installed in the first place but it no longer satisfies current standards. In addition, poor lighting also makes it difficult to see persons crossing in the evening, and the marked crosswalk – which consists of white stripes – may give many pedestrians “false sense of security” when crossing the street.
The engineer directed The Eastsider to page 19 of the department’s “Pedestrian Safety At Uncontrolled Crosswalks: To Cross Or Not To Cross” for more details on the department’s rationale for removing or install crosswalks. In documents say that removing some crosswalks can actually lead to a decline in accidents:
There are two reasons why the conversion of a marked crosswalk to a legal unmarked crosswalk can sometimes improve pedestrian safety. The first reason is that many motorists disregard marked crosswalks and posted warnings where pedestrian volume is light and therefore unexpected. The second reason is that marked crosswalks may give pedestrians a false sense of security. Pedestrians may believe that drivers see the painted lines as well as as they do, and thus stop. As a result, pedestrians might be misled to be overly confident when entering the street.
Even if the crosswalk markings are removed, it will still be legal for pedestrians to cross Glendale at Deane, said the engineer.
While the department is recommending for removal of the crosswalk, the public will have about 30 days to comment on the proposal, he said. Persons can submit comments via email to [email protected] or by calling (323) 957-6843.