After what seems to have been a heated month of politics on OP, I thought I'd start December with a few questions about crosswalks, speeding, sidewalks, road design, and other issues that impact the walkability of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
First, I've noticed that when I'm stopped at a crossswalk (particularly on Rosemary Street), cars rarely stop to let me cross, even if they see me patiently waiting. My understanding is that they are required to stop for pedestrians. What recourse do I have when they don't? How does one go about getting additional crosswalks put in?
For years now I've used the informal trails linking my neighborhood around Lloyd Street/Broad Street near downtown Carrboro, Northside, Bolin Creek, and the rest of Carrboro to navigate as a pedestrian and a biker. Every time I
cross the ditch on an old railroad tie and then straddle the railroad
tracks to get to Harris Teeter or the Pleasant Street neighborhood, I
marvel at the fact that the geographic center of Carrboro/Chapel Hill
Police statement published today by the Carrboro Citizen:
On Thursday, December 11th, the Chapel Hill Police responded to a
traffic crash on N.C. 54 west of the South Columbia Street Bridge.
Seven pedestrians were reportedly crossing the roadway at approximately
10:30 PM. Four of the pedestrians had made it to the median and three
were struck by an eastbound vehicle. One person, a female, was
pronounced dead at the scene and two others were transported to UNC
Hospital for treatment of their non-life threatening injuries.
With this weekend's bad news, Chapel Hill's pedestrian death toll rises to THREE in the past month. May 17: Barbara Boone Sims was killed crossing Weaver Dairy Road at Perkins Drive, May 15: Lisa Carolyn Moran was fatally hit by a bus on Manning Drive near UNC Hospital, April 27: Clifton Walker Steed was killed crossing MLK Blvd at Hillsborough Street. All were killed within a block of the NC 86 corridor (South Columbia Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard).
I know the Town has studied the MLK portion of the corridor and proposed some pedestrian improvements (PDF report), but none have been implemented yet as far as I know. We also need to remember that crosswalks don't exist in a vacuum, we need safe sidewalks, well-lit bus shelters, adequate bike lanes, and much more.