MoDOT: Crosswalk laws need awareness, not changes

We don't need dramatic changes, we just need to brush up on best practices.

Darnell Marble dreads using the crosswalk on Truman Parkway and Lafayette Avenue in St. Louis.

"It's confusing, you don't know if it's OK to go because the walk light comes on and then the flashing hand immediately comes up," says Marble, shortly after jogging through the crosswalk.

"They really need to fix that, it's been a problem for a while now," Marble told Five on Your Side.

"There is a common misunderstanding from both vehicles and pedestrians on the operation through an intersection," said Michelle Voegele, a safety engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Voegele's referring to crosswalk signals that display the 'walk' icon for only four or five seconds, followed by a flashing hand signal for up to 25 seconds.

Many drivers and pedestrians mistakenly presume the flashing hand signal means that, if you're in the crosswalk, your time, as a pedestrian with the right of way, is over.

Although many drivers in St. Louis routinely fail to properly yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, the city's crosswalks (including the intersection at Truman Parkway and Lafayette, overseen by MoDOT because Interstate 55 traffic flows through) are timed to give pedestrians ample time to safely cross.

"The safety of drivers and pedestrians is a top priority for MoDOT," Voegele tells Five on Your Side.

Better awareness on the rules of the road, among drivers and pedestrians, is a more common sense solution than changing the design or duration of crosswalk signals, according to MoDOT.

"Our pedestrian timing signals are based off of the calculations on a national standard," Voegele explains.

There has not been a serious accident involving a pedestrian at the intersection of Truman Parkway and Lafayette Avenue in the last years, according to MoDOT incident reports.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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