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