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.