Dangerous crossing

This is North Clinton Street at Grove Street here in Fort Wayne. It’s a bit north of downtown, so the lack of pedestrian safety is unfortunately a given.

This intersection is close to a large number of apartments, down Grove to the left, and the last I heard, many new immigrants are placed there. I would guess a new immigrant living in an apartment would be more likely to want to use Citilink buses, especially since so many other cultures are more acclimated to using public transportation than the U.S.

But think about being a pedestrian trying to cross this five-lane road. I estimate it’s about 75 feet across. I have sometimes seen people standing in the center turn-left-both-ways lane, waiting to cross the next two lanes. It’s a natural place to want to stand, but it’s quite dangerous, since it’s a real lane used by vehicles.

Medians are used to good effect on Main Street downtown. Can’t we extend the hospitality to other areas of the city? These can’t be that expensive:

It’s a midblock median island, and something similar would be helpful to the real and perceived safety of pedestrians in the area trying to catch the bus. It seems placing one in the center lane just to the north of Grove Street would help pedestrians immensely without affecting traffic much at all.

But two other problems make this stretch hazardous for pedestrians. First, the sidewalks are rather narrow. Second, have you noticed how easy it is to go above the 35 mph speed limit in this stretch? That’s because the expressway width of the road makes even 50 mph feels safe.

Taking away a foot of roadway on both sides and giving that space to pedestrians or bike lanes would give motorists visual clues that would help keep speeds closer to the posted limit.

Are there other areas in town that could use a little love for pedestrians?

— bottom photo by Richard Drdul on Flickr

3 Comments

  1. The only problem with putting a center strip in the middle is that is a major thouroughfare when rush hour hits and traffic becomes backed up from State Blvd. People I know and even myself either jut down Grove or Edgewater to E/Wbrook or vice versa from State to get around log jams of traffic especially when someone has an accident also.

    I would love to see that whole section have a stop light put in and that in itself would improve life for everyone. In addition when the Pufferbelly Bike Trail construction begins the bike trail will be extended from Lawton across Omni Source and behind Centlivere and up to Fernhill as Phase One and so having safe passage between Centlivere and the Johnny Appleseed Part of the trail so would be a good thing.

    Please keep in mind I am not saying to nix your idea of a median strip or an elevated speed reduction strip but not unless it is matched with an actual stop light system (a 4 way stop even) as well.

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  2. That stretch of Coliseum by IPFW is pretty forbidding if you’re walking or biking to the campus. Some safety tweaks might encourage more students to bike to school–and ease the campus parking squeeze in the process.

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  3. Good thoughts on the outlook of our streets. I really wish there were more bike lanes in the Fort! I usually bike 3-4 times to work and generally traffic is pretty nice; but if you are traveling down any of Lake Ave from New Haven area all the way to Anthony – you are on the verge of getting run over with hardly any room for 4 cars (bigger in size).

    The bike paths the city has developed are nice as well for commuting; but then again, your are not welcome to most of the streets to insect with to make your commute shorter. This is my first year riding a bike here in the Fort and it is really not to bad; but could be tons better if the city of Fort Wayne would become more green on our main streets!

    Good blog you have here!

    Cheers,
    JPM

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