Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Village Crosswalks Continue to be Dangerous

Does anyone else remember when we had signs in the middle of our village crosswalks reminding drivers that they have an obligation to yield to pedestrians? It's a frustrating issue that has gotten only marginal newspaper coverage. The signs were put out by the DPW and brought in at night by the police. Apparently they didn't want the job anymore, so it stopped happening.

I was a member of the Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee for its first year, and Alan Stout is being kind when he implies that they've only been trying to get those signs back since the summer. It's been high on their agenda since day one, and it boggles my mind that they have been thwarted for so long.

So here are the reasons I have been told about why we don't have signs to keep our citizens and shoppers safe as they cross various parts of Main Street:
  • They must be brought in at night and the police doesn't have the manpower.
    • Even though volunteers have been approached
    • Even though the DOT will permit them to be out all night
  • The DOT has to give permission before we can put them back
    • The village board claims they sent in the request, but sitting around and waiting strains credibility when people have phones in their offices . . . how about calling to see if you can walk this one through?
  • A town in Texas was found liable when a drunk driver hit a boulder that was in the middle of the road
    • I don't want to embarrass the elected official who made the comparison between a plastic sign and a boulder in writing, but it's tempting
  • They make it too difficult to turn for trucks
    • They're plastic signs, remember?
  • They cost too much to replace
    • The cost about three hundred bucks apiece. How much are you willing to spend so senior citizens can feel safe crossing from Starbucks to P&G's?
  • The village Department of Public Works is concerned about their plows
    • Don't put them out in the snow.
If you're an elected official in the Town or Village, please remember that the police and DPW are your employees. If it is good for our community, go ahead and tell them to do it.

We really have too many fiefdoms represented to make this idea happen. Unification, anyone?


Anonymous said...

One recent Saturday there were police at the Starbucks/P&Gs intersection. On foot! I thought we had finally got some foot patrol. But no.... there were several officers. It was some special police PR thing going on. They were handing out flyers and explaining that the law is NOT drivers have to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. One of the officers told me crossing an intersection is a negotiation between the driver and the pedestrian, and it is incumbent on the pedestrian to make eye contact with the driver before attempting to enter the crosswalk. I asked, so the signs? That have been saying "YIELD TO PEDESTRIAN IN CROSSWALK" all these years, are wrong? And he said yes.

Anyway the crosswalk signs clusterfuck is not a good argument for unification. It's a good argument for better oversight of new paltz police.

Robin said...

"A town in Texas was found liable when a drunk driver hit a boulder that was in the middle of the road"

Uh-huh. I'm pretty sure that a DOT-approved sign would not qualify as a similar obstruction in court. Unless...was it a DOT-approved boulder?