Thru the Windshield

How do we look to those passing by? Observations…questions…hopes…concerns

by Marjorie Klise

Darn it! It looks like Chicago will beat us to the bragging rights of innovative traffic control. We have suggested, several times, to our traffic folks at City Hall that the Main and University intersection would be the perfect place to introduce the “all-way” pedestrian walk pattern.

This method is used on the east coast and the west coast of our country as well as in Europe…and it works. It is especially effective when there is a wide intersection with a variety of turn lanes and pedestrian destinations on all corners. Our site is ideal!

So…the lights are green for east-west bound traffic.

Give them the full 80/90 seconds. Then the lights are green for all north-south traffic. No ‘right on red’ allowed. AND THEN THE LIGHTS ARE RED FOR ALL TRAFFIC AND PEDESTRIANS BEGIN TO WALK. They walk curb to curb, corner to corner, straight or diagonal.

This gets everybody across the street….college students, school children, mothers with strollers, neighbors and customers. After 35 seconds we go back to the traffic lights allowing the traffic to move quickly and safely with no need to guess who should have the right of way.

Roundabouts are fine for bucolic English lanes where gentlemen doff their hats to each other and motion the other fellow to precede them into the merge. But I have seen very little hat-doffing at the Main and University intersection.

If Chicago likes it for State Street, can’t we show a certain amount of imagination and give it a whirl? This is a mater of re-programming a few traffic lights, adding the speed table concept and spending some of the leftover dollars on trees, plantings and benches.

Let’s try it.