A (Somewhat Minor) Case of Crosswalk Fever

Stephenson1Walking  westward along the south side N.E. Tenth Street, approaching Phillips Ave., one finds a 45º turn to the left to accommodate a sign–nothing an OKC pedestrian cannot handle. Then, the sidewalk leads to a somewhat unusual but pleasant surprise, a striped crosswalk. This crosswalk provides safe travel across an entrance to Stephenson Cancer Center’s parking garage.Stephenson2 The strange thing is where the crosswalk leads.

It appears to be severely mismatched with the sidewalk on the other side of the entrance. Upon Stephenson3further investigation–let’s get another angle on this, shall we?–the crosswalk is oriented parallel to the street, but that doesn’t mean that pedestrians should maintain a parallel course. The crosswalk leads to a narrow walkway with a 90º turn–not a problem for pedestrians–but with a turning radius of approximately zero, a significant problem for a disabled person. This then leads to traveling approximately two feet, then turning 90º on a dime again.

Just another interesting Happy Feet Find, another day in OKC.

 

 

 

Watch for Me Part 2

One week ago today, your intrepid HappyFeet blogger had occasion to cross North Phillips Ave. westbound on the north side of N. E. 10th Street. Slide1

Just so you get the idea….
the green arrow represents my travels. You can see I was crossing with the flow of westbound traffic on N. E. 10th, so you know that as I crossed the right hand northbound lane of Phillips Ave., I had my head turned at the familiar 135º angle, well-known to all OKC pedestrians–to watch for cars turning right.

As I reached the center stripe–pedestrian signal still registering WALK–a car WHOOSHED behind me. This was a car turning LEFT. That is, a car turned north onto Phillips Ave. from the eastbound lane of N. E. 10th Street. The red arrow in the diagram below represents the car’s path.Slide2

In thirty-one years of crossing OKC intersections, this was a new challenge. While I have had several near-miss experiences due to right-hand turns (hence, the habitual 135º turn of the head), this elevated my sense of adventure to a new level. At the time, I failed to embrace the beckoning spirit of emprise to the degree required of OKC pedestrians, and I was puzzled how the traffic signals could allow this to happen. Surely, the left turn arrow had not turned green while the WALK signal was still saying WALK ???

The kind people at traffic control suggested to me that the intersection I crossed must surely not have had controlled left-turn lanes. In this case, cars can legally turn, though they are required to yield to pedestrians. (The yielding to pedestrians didn’t happen.) The signals at intersections with controlled left-hand turns are indeed set so that a legal left-hand turn is not permitted while the crosswalk is activated.

Tenth&PhilLeft
Facing east from southwest corner, intersection of N.E. 10th and Phillips

I felt certain this intersection did have left-turn lanes, but perhaps I was mistaken. Just as a check on my sanity, I returned to the intersection today, thankful to still be able to walk. And, as you can see plainly, there most certainly was a controlled left-hand turn signal for a left-turn lane.

So, OKC pedestrians, if there has been any fear that the new Watch for Me campaign will rob us of the sense of excitement and wonder we have come to know and cherish, worry not.

Safe walking to all.

 

Watch for Me Part 1

Watch
Watch for Me OKC promotion on Embark bus

These signs are beginning to show up in more and more places around town. And, watching out for each other is a good thing.

The signs are supporting a program launched by the city last fall in response to an alarming number of accidents. The program (and the accidents) involved both cyclists and pedestrians.

More details of the program are found on the City website.

Here are the pedestrian ordinances highlighted by City officials:

  • Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way on streets unless using a crosswalk at an intersection, and pedestrians must obey any signals and other signs at the intersection.
  • Pedestrians can only walk on a roadway if it’s safe and must walk facing traffic.
  • It’s illegal to jump or throw things from bridges.
  • Drivers are required to exercise due care to avoid collisions with pedestrians.
  • If there’s no crosswalk, pedestrians can only cross a street at a right angle to the curb. It’s illegal to cross two streets at once by walking diagonally across an intersection.

These are good rules for starters. There is much more to be said about the dearth of pedestrian infrastructure here in a place where cars rule. Nonetheless, HappyFeetOKC gives a thumbs up so far.

 

 

History in Brick

Brick_squarePreserving historic brick sidewalks seems to be very important in our downtown area. How else to explain this strip of–interesting–shall we call it?–walkway on NW 4th Street? This deeply cherished, but oh-so-slightly neglected connection to treasured days of yore is located between N. Harvey Avenue and N. Hudson Avenue on the north side of NW 4th Street downtown.

 

Best Place to Walk a Long Way and See Absolutely Nothing Interesting

Boring
Skywalk from Children’s Hospital to Williams Pavillon

Skywalks prevent us from encountering hostile Oklahoma weather, and sometimes that is a wonderful thing.

Skywalks are also generally safe places for walking, in that there are no uneven or unpredictable walking surfaces. Almost anyone can make his/her way safely from one building to another, regardless of physical limitations.

What’s more, unlike sidewalks, no one seems to mind paying for skywalks.

The big white box on the left side approximately midway down this hallway, is a point of connection to a skywalk-in-progress.

Crosswalk Fever Hits 100…Yards, That Is

Tenth_St_Curb_CutsFirst, it should be said that the OU Health Science Center is one of the most walkable areas in Oklahoma City, second only to the downtown/Bricktown area or possibly some of the metro area college campuses.
Also, HSC drivers are among the most courteous in the metro area. Nonetheless, there are some things that add–entertainment, shall we say?–to the lives of the people who walk in that area. Read on.

On N.E. 10th Street, just west of Stonewall, there are two curb cuts directly across the street from each other…as if, just in case someone wishes to travel from Quirky Quad near the Stanton L. Young Biomedical Research Center to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, it will be possible to do so. Now, the odd thing–where are the usual crosswalk stripes? Fortunately, located just a short distance away (approximately one short football field’s distance to the west in fact) are the stripes.

OU_Family_Med
Crossing N. E. 10th Street from north to south, Williams Pavillion to OU Family Medicine

Yes, that’s correct, here (to the right) are some real beauties! And these bright zebra stripes along with those 100-yard-to-the-east curb cuts must surely be a matched set, as these stripes have no curb cuts! This area does sport a nice sign….Sign_Cropped

 

Sometimes, the authorities used to put a sign between those two curb cuts near Stonewall, and we all know how that went.

down_sign
NE 10th near Stonewall Ave. in Oklahoma City.