Pedestrian dead ends
I just looked at a few intersections along the Library Rd./Rt 88 corridor on Google Street View. Many of them are within walking distance of one or more T stations. Some have Do Not Cross signs in one or more directions. Is crossing at these locations banned just to prioritize motor vehicle traffic and confuse, alienate, and/or discourage pedestrians walking to and from the nearby T stations?
- Library Rd./NcNeilly Rd. ——————————— Southern and western approaches
- Library Rd./6th St./Killarney Dr. (Killarney) ——— Southern and western approaches
- Library Rd./Castle Shannon Blvd./Shady Run Ave. – Southern and western approaches
- Library Rd./Connor Rd.———————————— Northern approach
- Library Rd./Milford Dr.———————————— Northern approach
- Library Rd./Hillside Dr.———————————— Northern and southern approaches (Both on Library Rd.)
- Library Rd./Brightwood Rd.(North)——————– Northern and Western approaches
I don’t know the backstory on these. The T through there was rebuilt in 2002-04, and I’m sure many of those date to pre-1994 when the old trolley line serviced that area. What little I know I learned through transit people, not first hand, and not recently.
I guess I’m curious about motive. Is this about cycling accessibility or transit accessibility? I could be interested in either. Plus there’s some overlap. I’ve often stated that if transit stops were easier to get to by bike, we might see more transit usage. Adding some bike racks even at small T stops would also help.
Since “Do not cross” signs have nothing to do with cyclists, It has more to do with access to transit and travel on foot. Obeying signs can make travel on foot very difficult. For instance, Library Rd. has sections with no shoulder/sidewalk, as well as sections with sidewalks and or shoulders that come and go, sometimes mid-block.
Let’s use McNeilly Station as an example. McNeilly Station exits onto McNeilly Rd. near its intersection with Library Rd. providing access to Overbrook, Castle Shannon, and Baldwin Township. There is a sidewalk on McNeilly Rd. on the southern side of the road through the tunnel to Library Rd. If one wants to walk north along Library Rd., They can’t because crossing McNeilly Rd. at Library Rd. is banned with a sign. The only crossing allowed from the sidewalk is to the eastern side of Library Rd. Since the shoulder on Library Rd. is extremely narrow, walking on the western side of Library Rd., facing traffic, is the safe and legal option. This cannot be done because crossing McNeilly Rd. is banned. I bet a lot of people just cross McNeilly Rd. here anyway when Library Rd. has a green light since it is not inherently dangerous to do so, or people just walk through to parking lots and cross Library Rd. again to where there is a sidewalk. and walk through more parking lots and front yards to reach their house on Library Rd.
I disagree that walking on the western side of Library Road, northbound from McNeilly, is safe, or the best option. The traffic engineers clearly didn’t spend a lot of effort making Library Road friendly to pedestrians, but it looks to me (based just on Streetview) that this route is safely passable on foot, like so:
From McNeilly, use the crosswalk with Walk sign to cross to the eastern side of Library, and head north, via the parking lots and the trail in the grass, avoiding the unusably narrow and unsafe shoulder entirely.
When you reach the spot shown here, you’ll notice there’s a break in the curb, too narrow for vehicles, on both the left and right sides of the road. The traffic engineers expect pedestrians will know to cross here, though there’s no sign for them and no traffic control device. (There’s a sign, coming from the opposite direction, alerting cars to an upcoming pedestrian crossing, but that seems to be the only hint.)
Now you can continue north on the west side of Library, via a pedestrian path that’s separated from the road by a barrier, which then continues over a stream, with pedestrians on a path between a fence and concrete barrier.
You can then continue on grass and parking lots for the rest of the way to the next intersection, except where some homeowner put a fence running right to the curb. So apart from that narrow yard, it’s doable without using the unsafe shoulder at all. The signs prohibiting pedestrians from crossing McNeilly are clumsily directing them to this much safer route.
What about the other “Do not cross” signs?
Also, Library is surprisingly pedestrian-friendly for such a far-flung suburb. Sidewalks are come-and-go, but where there are no sidewalks, there is a wide shoulder that can accommodate pedestrians. Take a look at this Instagram post.
I also saw several people biking around Library, as well as a bike locked to the fence behind the outbound platform at Library Station.
Some if this is philosophical. If given the choice between following the rules or being unsafe, not only will I break the rule, I will go out of my way to call attention to my breaking the rule, then if necessary face down whatever authority figure I need to, to get the situation fixed.
That approach does not work for rule followers.
Related, just tonight, I did this. With some suggestions from follow-up tweets, maybe I can get a situation changed.
— Stuart Strickland (@bus15237) July 9, 2019
What about the other “Do not cross” signs?
According to Streetview, there are no Do Not Cross signs prohibiting travel along the route I described.
There are four corners to the intersection of McNeilly (extending NW) and Library (running SW to NE). The north corner is unsafe, with a guardrail and no shoulder, and Do Not Cross signs prohibit crossing to or from it. But the pedestrian route I’m talking about crosses from the west corner heading SE to the south corner. No signs prohibit that.
Maybe you could post a link to Streetview showing whatever Do Not Cross signs you mean?
Stu- target has a bazillion stores and also probably has no control over the parking lot. Tagging the Waterfront directly will get you much further. They’re the landlords.
I mean those at other intersections, here are a few examples.
- Library Rd. at Castle Shannon Blvd./Shady Run Ave.
- Library Rd. at Killarney Dr./6th St. BTW, where are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Streets in Castle Shannon?
- Library Rd. at Hillside Dr.
- Library Rd. at Logan Rd.
Here are some that can create a major inconvenience by forcing pedestrians to wait an extra traffic light cycle.
- Highland Ave. at Spirit St. (East Liberty)
- Penn Ave. at Euclid Ave. (East Liberty)
- Black St. at Chislett St (East liberty)
- Penn Ave. at Shady Ave. (Shadyside)
- Penn Ave. at Graham St. (Garfield)
- Negley Ave. at Baum Blvd. (Friendship)
- Freeport Rd. at St. Margret Dr. (Lincoln Lemmington)
- Main St. at 18th St. (Sharpsburg)
- Main St. at 21st St. (Sharpsburg)
- Liberty Ave. at 9th St. (Downtown)
- Liberty Ave. at 16th St. (Strip District)
- Butler St. at 57th St. (Lawrenceville)
- Allegheny River Blvd. at Rivertowne Shopping Center (Verona)
- Penn Ave. at Beulah Rd. (Churchill)
Here are some that create completely dead-ends for pedestrians by surrounding the intersection with “Do not cross” signs.
- Washington Blvd. at Allegheny River Blvd. (Highland Park)*
- Beulah Rd. at Churchill Rd. (Churchill)
- Rt. 910 at Rt. 28 South ramps (Harmar)
Here are some “Do not cross” signs I agree with.
- 5th Ave. at University Pl. (Oakland)**
- Forbes Ave. at Schenley Dr. Extension (Oakland)**
- 5th Ave. at Halket St. (Oakland)***
- Centre Ave. at Euclid Ave. (East Liberty)***
*This intersection is located in the City of Pittsburgh which has enacted a Complete Streets policy prior to replacing the traffic light. The old traffic light had pedestrian crossing signals on two of the approaches, but the new one outright bans crossing in all directions. This is not a step toward complete streets and needs to be addressed to whomever is responsible for this. I would recommend an exclusive pedestrian interval that occurs only if the button is pressed at this intersection.
**All traffic from cross street must turn right onto a one-way street at these T intersections. Pedestrians are banned from crossing the approach on the one-way street to the right of the intersection as seen from cross street as to reduce conflict with turning vehicles and increase pedestrian safety at a minor cost of convenience.
***All or most traffic from the cross street turns left at these T intersections. The reason for these signs is the same as above.
Z, I’m going to add onto your pedestrian dead ends by including Three Degree Road at Perry Highway in Ross. This is a fully signaled corner with a pedestrian crossing light and beg button. I submit that a pedestrian cannot cross this corner legally, with the crossing light.
Merely having a sign or light saying you can, does not equate to being able. And that also means a pedestrian dead end.
Library Rd. at Castle Shannon Blvd./Shady Run Ave: Signs keep pedestrians away from one corner of the intersection, the one with zero shoulder. Pedestrians heading west on Library should be on the other side of the street, where there’s a way around the railroad trestle.
Library Rd. at Killarney Dr: The intersecting streets have sidewalks on one side in one direction. Signs keep pedestrians away from the one corner with no sidewalks.
Library Rd. at Hillside Dr: Neither side of Library has reasonable shoulder, but one side has flat grass to walk on, and the other has a steep slope up. Signs keep pedestrians on the flat side.
Library Rd. at Logan Rd.: One side of Library is steep heading south, the other side is flat. Signs prohibit crossing what looks like a driveway, but perhaps to keep pedestrians heading south away from that slope.
So I’d say the first three examples are appropriate signs for the conditions (Logan is less clear). It would be better if all those roads had nice wide shoulders or sidewalks everywhere to permit pedestrians to choose whichever side of the road they liked, but that’s really hard to do after the fact, and the signage successfully directs pedestrians to the least dangerous routes.
I agree that there are lots of intersections that are slow for pedestrians. Perhaps designing light timings and sequences around vehicles is justified in certain cases where there are many vehicles and few pedestrians at a crossing, but that’s not the case for some of your examples. I agree they should be more pedestrian-friendly.
As to the intersections that entirely prohibit pedestrians, most of them seem to involve two roads, both entirely unsafe for pedestrians. The fix here is not to remove the signs, or to install crosswalks. It requires fixing the entire road. Nobody should be walking on the part of Allegheny River Blvd with no shoulder just east of the Highland Park Bridge. (On the other hand, Beulah Rd. at Churchill Rd. prohibits crossing from one sidewalk to another. That’s just dumb.)
Babcock at Siebert, Ross Twp., a T intersection. Signs prohibit any legal ped crossing of this corner in any direction. I’ll have to dig back through my video collection for proof, or just head down there again.
One time, I was biking home from lock Way near Choderwood. It is very stressful and dangerous to attempt to climb Washington Blvd. toward the Highland Park Bridge and abruptly change lanes to continue onto Butler St. and access the sidewalk. I had to cross the western approach so I could face opposing traffic as I walked the bike back up the hill toward the bridge. It is also very inconvenient to have to climb Negley Run Blvd. and go through East Liberty and Morningside just to cross a bridge that is 1/2 mile from the starting point.
If Washington Blvd. has to be ripped up to replace sewer or water lines, then will the “Complete Streets” policy take effect?
There are also some all-way “Do not cross” signs on Rt. 19 in Cranberry Township.
will the “Complete Streets” policy take effect?
That would be great. That said, I think city council passed a law years ago requiring all major city construction projects to spend 1% of their budget on public art. The city just seems to ignore that whenever it feels like it, with no consequences. I guess they could do the same with Complete Streets just as easily.
For now, though, the city seems to be making slow but steady progress at adding bike infrastructure. Hopefully, improvements to the Washington Blvd/Allegheny River Blvd area will get here eventually.
The issue is that part of Washington Blvd/bulter street is Penndot, not the city.
The traffic light looks like those that are only found in the City of Pittsburgh.
Also, I spotted another “Do not cross” sign on the northern approach of Greentree Rd. at Carnahan Rd. This can make getting to the bus stops at this T intersection difficult if you want to catch an inbound bus from the NE. corner of Greentree Rd. as you must cross Carnahan Rd. prior to crossing Greentree Rd. It would make sense to have two crosswalks across Greentree Rd.
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by zzwergel.
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