The Daily Gazette
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Roundabout protesters in Malta cite concerns about safety

Malta residents protest the  proposed roundabouts planned for Round Lake Road in Malta.
Photographer: Stacey Lauren-Kennedy
Malta residents protest the proposed roundabouts planned for Round Lake Road in Malta.
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Kevin Eitzmann grew up in Malta, and when spring rolled around, he remembers all the neighborhood kids would ride their bikes over to Chango Elementary School each day. The short journey, which required crossing several intersections along Round Lake Road, was a fond childhood memory he hoped his own kids would experience one day. “That was during rush-hour traffic and it was never a problem growing up because you’d wait for the stop light and ...

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March 4, 2014
12:29 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

The safety of a pedestrian crossing any road, regardless of the intersection control, can be enhanced in many different ways. Signing and marking the crossing is usually the first step. Shortening the crossing distance is another. The safest shortening method is a median that permits pedestrians to cross one direction of traffic at a time (two-phase), like at a modern roundabout. This is particularly helpful for the youngest and oldest pedestrians. Enhanced markings include advance stop bars where any half of the crossing has more than one lane. This helps reduce the double-threat collisions on multi-lane crossings. Raised crossings slow traffic right were pedestrians cross. If emergency access is a concern, placement of speed cushions in advance of the crossing are a solution. Electronic warnings, like rapid flash beacons, increase motorists’ awareness of pedestrian activity. Hybrid beacons (with a red indication) or full signals are usually reserved for locations with the busiest traffic or pedestrian uses (due to cost). One advantage of beacons is they usually rest in off, so auto traffic is only delayed when pedestrians need the extra help crossing. With a menu of ways to improve crossing safety, choosing the best one depends on local conditions. However, each of these options is moot if there are not laws in place, or enforced, to clearly identify who has the right of way to begin with.