82.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, August 8, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesIt’s Time to Improve Pedestrian Safety at Busy Intersections

It’s Time to Improve Pedestrian Safety at Busy Intersections

Dear Source:
The recent report of a hit and run fatality in the area of the Golden Rock Shopping Center brings to light the serious danger to pedestrians at this intersection. Several years ago major upgrades were made to the roadway and traffic flow which included a new pedestrian crosswalk, but these upgrades appear to have played their own role in aggravating the problem.
A key factor in pedestrian safety is the crosswalk pattern at the traffic light. Pedestrians who do opt to cross the street from the JFK Housing Community side must navigate three separate streams of traffic coming from four potential sources. Not surprising, the majority of pedestrians avoid the crosswalk and chose to cross traffic approximately fifty feet or so before the light. Exasperating this tendency is the walkway and fence opening of the JFK Housing Community used by the greater majority of those pedestrians seeking to cross over to the shopping center. If the intent of the upgrade was to promote use of the newly created crosswalk, leaving that walkway and fence opening certainly results in less inclination of pedestrians to walk the extra distance to use it. It clearly is an issue of convenience and proximity winning over safety, although I believe that anyone scrutinizing the crosswalk itself might have questions about its own shortcomings in providing a safe way to get across the street.
I don’t spend twenty-four hours monitoring the roadway at this intersection, but I pass it quite regularly and have come across countless pedestrians, but most especially, elderly persons, physically challenged individuals, children, and moms with strollers or babies in arms, caught in dangerous situations trying to maneuver their way from one side of the street to the other. At times a well-intentioned driver will stop to let the pedestrian proceed, but an added hazard is traffic that cannot see the passing pedestrian and then tries to get around the driver who has stopped to let the person cross. The speed of traffic passing through the area is often much too fast for the reaction time of pedestrians and is compounded in darkness by the lack of sufficient lighting in the area where people are generally crossing.
Given the budgetary restrictions of roadwork in the Territory, I am not sure what solutions could provide a safer pedestrian environment in the short term, but certainly there are some low cost efforts that can make at least some difference. One solution seems quite rational; if there is no desire to create a safer pedestrian crosswalk directly in front of the opening in the JFK Housing Community fence to the Golden Rock Shopping Center, then that opening, and the walkway leading to it, should be closed. If residents of the Housing Community argue that such action would create an inordinate amount of inconvenience, then a suitable crosswalk needs to be created at that location. Speed bumps to slow down traffic approaching the intersection and better lighting in the roadway, well before the shopping center and traffic signals, should also be seriously considered. Obtrusive warning signs, solar powered flashing lights, and a “raised” pedestrian crosswalk, would greatly add to safety, but might also require funding beyond what is locally available.
One would hope that there might be federal funding the Territory can access to improve pedestrian safety at busy intersections, but understandably, such funding is not always readily available when a particular need arises. There may be other solutions and insights worth contemplating, but it is clear that continued neglect of the danger will only result in the potential for more tragedy. I urge those responsible for the safety of our roadways and pedestrians to investigate what steps can be taken to address this serious safety concern.
David Capriola, St. Croix

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more

Dear Source:
The recent report of a hit and run fatality in the area of the Golden Rock Shopping Center brings to light the serious danger to pedestrians at this intersection. Several years ago major upgrades were made to the roadway and traffic flow which included a new pedestrian crosswalk, but these upgrades appear to have played their own role in aggravating the problem.
A key factor in pedestrian safety is the crosswalk pattern at the traffic light. Pedestrians who do opt to cross the street from the JFK Housing Community side must navigate three separate streams of traffic coming from four potential sources. Not surprising, the majority of pedestrians avoid the crosswalk and chose to cross traffic approximately fifty feet or so before the light. Exasperating this tendency is the walkway and fence opening of the JFK Housing Community used by the greater majority of those pedestrians seeking to cross over to the shopping center. If the intent of the upgrade was to promote use of the newly created crosswalk, leaving that walkway and fence opening certainly results in less inclination of pedestrians to walk the extra distance to use it. It clearly is an issue of convenience and proximity winning over safety, although I believe that anyone scrutinizing the crosswalk itself might have questions about its own shortcomings in providing a safe way to get across the street.
I don’t spend twenty-four hours monitoring the roadway at this intersection, but I pass it quite regularly and have come across countless pedestrians, but most especially, elderly persons, physically challenged individuals, children, and moms with strollers or babies in arms, caught in dangerous situations trying to maneuver their way from one side of the street to the other. At times a well-intentioned driver will stop to let the pedestrian proceed, but an added hazard is traffic that cannot see the passing pedestrian and then tries to get around the driver who has stopped to let the person cross. The speed of traffic passing through the area is often much too fast for the reaction time of pedestrians and is compounded in darkness by the lack of sufficient lighting in the area where people are generally crossing.
Given the budgetary restrictions of roadwork in the Territory, I am not sure what solutions could provide a safer pedestrian environment in the short term, but certainly there are some low cost efforts that can make at least some difference. One solution seems quite rational; if there is no desire to create a safer pedestrian crosswalk directly in front of the opening in the JFK Housing Community fence to the Golden Rock Shopping Center, then that opening, and the walkway leading to it, should be closed. If residents of the Housing Community argue that such action would create an inordinate amount of inconvenience, then a suitable crosswalk needs to be created at that location. Speed bumps to slow down traffic approaching the intersection and better lighting in the roadway, well before the shopping center and traffic signals, should also be seriously considered. Obtrusive warning signs, solar powered flashing lights, and a “raised” pedestrian crosswalk, would greatly add to safety, but might also require funding beyond what is locally available.
One would hope that there might be federal funding the Territory can access to improve pedestrian safety at busy intersections, but understandably, such funding is not always readily available when a particular need arises. There may be other solutions and insights worth contemplating, but it is clear that continued neglect of the danger will only result in the potential for more tragedy. I urge those responsible for the safety of our roadways and pedestrians to investigate what steps can be taken to address this serious safety concern.
David Capriola, St. Croix