Letter to the Editor
Re: “Crossing creates confusion on GM Road” I drive through this crossing frequently and have seen several incidents and was almost rear ended myself so your article piqued my interest.
IMHO There are two issues with the crossing that exacerbate the problem. At 50 MPH if the yellow warning turns on and a person steps out to the shoulder a driver has to brake suddenly and rather hard to stop for the pedestrian. The other problem is that the crossing is somewhat hidden by trees and brush on both sides. Complicating this is that most pedestrians are lulled into a false sense of security if they activate the signal as they immediately step out and enter the roadway.
I see several simple solutions to help the problem. One, add additional yellow lights 100 or 200 yards from the crossing from both directions. The light just at the crossing provides no warning as by the time you see it start to flash you have to brake hard if it activates and you are too close. Two, immediately, clear all the brush and trees from the crossing area so pedestrians don’t just suddenly step out onto the shoulder from the “out of sight” position they are in when they press the activate button. Three, move the button to the shoulder so it is immediately visible that a pedestrian is at the crossing before they activate the warning. Four, additional signage on the trail could better inform the walkers/runners, cycles, etc. how to use the warning and that they must allow time for the traffic to stop.
Having used the crossing from both vantage points, I would say that the yellow flashing warning light is an answer to a question no one asked. It seems to put the onus on the driver while giving a false sense of security to the trail user. I personally think the crossing would be safer for the drivers and walkers if the light was removed as it would be clear to the trail user it is their responsibility to stop, look and cross safely rather than give them the false sense of security most seem to have.