Walking 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. 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 further 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
First, 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.
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….
Sometimes, the authorities used to put a sign between those two curb cuts near Stonewall, and we all know how that went.
It was wonderful to see that the City responded to the problem with the crosswalk at N. Meridian Ave. on the south side of NW 63rd Street. (See post of November 22, 2015.) They did not notice the crosswalk on N. Meridian Ave. on the north side of NW 63rd Street when they came, however. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.
Probably should add something here. This may seem trivial to many; however, the crosswalks are now outfitted with audio signals for the blind. People with blindness often use the tactile cue–the bumpy surface of the curb cut–to know where to enter a crosswalk. They deserve to have the crosswalk matched up with that curb cut, as do those in wheelchairs.
During the day yesterday, a city crew repainted this crosswalk (NW 63rd & N. Meridian Ave.). This photo shows a view looking east across N. Meridian Ave. on the south side of NW 63rd. One call to the City Action Center along with emailed photos, one follow-up phone call to make sure photos were received, and … RESULTS!
So take heart, OKC. Sometimes bureaucracies surprise us and listen! Safe walking to all.
Walking is an adventure, and in Oklahoma City, the adventure expands at least eightfold. The photo to the right shows an intersection in northwest Oklahoma City. The crosswalk was just painted a couple of weekends ago (November 7). What is this?
Evidently those who walk should have no qualms about trekking across the street just inches from moving school buses and 18-wheelers. And those in wheelchairs should teleport themselves from the curb cut to the painted crosswalk, begging the question–why build the curb cut anyway?
Appropriate authorities have been contacted. Stay tuned.