What is a crosswalk?
State Traffic Code defines a "crosswalk" as the portion of the roadway crossing at an intersection, which is an extension of a sidewalk, or any portion of a roadway which is marked as a pedestrian crossing by painted lines. Crosswalks can be either "marked" or "unmarked".
How are crosswalks to be used?
At any crosswalk (marked or unmarked), pedestrians shall obey traffic and pedestrian control signals. When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the roadway within a crosswalk.
Crosswalks are marked primarily to encourage pedestrians to use a particular crossing location.
Studies conducted on the relative safety of marked and unmarked crosswalks indicate that marked crosswalks are not any safer than unmarked pedestrian crossings. The City of San Diego studied intersections at which there were both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Although 2.5 times as many people used the marked crosswalks, six times as many accidents occurred in the marked crosswalks. A pedestrian safety study in Long Beach reported eight times as many accidents in marked crosswalks compared to unmarked crosswalks. Similar studies in other cities have confirmed these results.
These studies seem to suggest that marked crosswalks gives pedestrians a false sense of security. At all crosswalks, both marked and unmarked, it is the pedestrian's responsibility to be cautious and alert while crossing.
Where are crosswalks normally marked?
Crosswalks are usually marked at intersections where there is a substantial conflict between vehicle and pedestrian movements, where a significant pedestrian concentration occurs, where pedestrians could not otherwise recognize the proper place to cross, or where traffic movements are controlled.
Examples of such locations are:
- Approved school crossings
- Signalized and 4-way stop intersections with significant pedestrian traffic
It is the City of Englewood's policy not to paint crosswalks at locations unexpected by motorists, such as mid-block locations, where traffic is not controlled by a traffic signal. Painted crosswalks are used where necessary to direct pedestrians along the safest route.
The best safety measure for pedestrians of all ages is to educate themselves on how and where to safely cross the street.