The challenge of placing crosswalks

Deciding where a crosswalk should be placed comes with challenges

DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) – In light of recent incidents at crosswalks in the community we are taking a closer look at the safety and where crosswalks and signs are placed.

Deciding where a crosswalk should be placed comes with its challenges. Eric Rakers, City Engineer for Public Works in De Pere said one of those challenges is taking distracted drivers into account.

“How do we get a motorist’s attention to make sure they yield to pedestrians but also understand the law that they’re required to yield to pedestrians,” said Rakers.

On the other hand, he said, as a pedestrian you still need to be aware of your surroundings.

“Just because you have a crosswalk or a flashing light doesn’t mean you’re safe and it doesn’t mean the car is going to stop for you,” said Rakers.

Officials do want to remind pedestrians to make sure that a car has fully stopped before you cross on a crosswalk, because you just never know. Public Works in De Pere said it teams up with different transportation agencies that perform studies, but occasionally they do their own.

“In fact we’re going to be starting one here relatively soon with a consultant to analyze traffic and gaps in traffic, where is it safe to get pedestrians across, so we do them as far as gathering statistics we depend on a lot of others to do that because it’s very difficult to figure out ‘okay we put that crosswalk in, did it make it safer or not’,” said Rakers.

Rakers sits on the Brown County Transportation subcommittee, which is now more interested in enforcement.

“We’re thinking about trying to work with the local police agencies to try to all work together and run some stings,” said Rakers.