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18th & Market St: Pedestrians Must Wait While Vehicles Turn Opposite Direction

June 2, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Walkability 12 Comments

Recently my husband and I were walking/rolling back toward our loft from the Union Station MetroLink Station. For some reason we were on the East side of 18th — usually I’m on the West side. However, both sides are equally poorly designed and maintained.

Anyway, we’re Northbound on the East side of 18th as we approach Market St and I notice something I’d never seen before: Northbound vehicles get a green light but pedestrians don’t get a walk signal while the left arrow is on. Since NB vehicles are turning left I get why pedestrians on the West side of 18th St aren’t given a walk signal. You’d never want to give pedestrians the ok to walk while drivers get a left arrow — like at Tucker & Olive and Tucker & Locust.

Why should pedestrians get a walk signal? Pedestrians have the right-of-way except in cases where vehicles are given a specific signal such as a left arrow. In this cases pedestrians must wait, but in the example the only turning cars would be NB ones turning right onto EB Market — they’d yield to pedestrians crossing the street — like most intersections. My guess is this is another instance where the city just didn’t think about pedestrian users.

Let’s take a look…

Vehicles have a red and pedestrians don't walk, click image to view location in Google Maps
Vehicles have a red and pedestrians don’t walk, click image to view location in Google Maps
Northbound vehicles get a green light, those turning left onto Westbound Market get a left arrow. But pedestrians on the West side still get a don't walk
Northbound vehicles get a green light, those turning left onto Westbound Market get a left arrow. But pedestrians on the West side still get a don’t walk
The don't walk remains as the left arrow goes yellow, then when Southbound traffic gets a green the walk signal to cross market comes on
The don’t walk remains as the left arrow goes yellow, then when Southbound traffic gets a green the walk signal to cross market comes on
Very quickly the pedestrian signal begins to countdown to zero
Very quickly the pedestrian signal begins to countdown to zero

Because still images can’t tell the full story I’ve put together a brief video:

Yes, another crossing at this same intersection is done correctly. If this were done right, pedestrians could cross Market St before Southbound vehicles get a green light and potentially make left turns onto Eastbound Market St — they don’ t get a left arrow so they must yield to Northbound vehicles and pedestrians crossing Market.

I see no reason why pedestrians don’t get a walk sign as soon as the Northbound traffic signal turns green.

— Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    This is somewhat of an irrational complaint. The light works on a cycle. Pedestrians get one phase of the cycle. It’s not “first” or “last”, it’s just part of a repeating cycle. If you get there just when the peds get their white walk signal, it’s great. If you get there just after the signal is in countdown mode, it sucks, because you do have to wait. But that’s the nature of cycles – someone is always having to wait! IF you don’t have enough time to cross, that’s a whole different concern, but where you get your “go” signal in this (or any other) cycle is just luck of the draw / life!

     
    • The way the cycles are structured is the problem, they’re set up differently for pedestruans crossing Market than for those crossing 18th. The cycle crossing 18th is correct — let pedestrians crossing 18th on the North side of Market cross because there is no direct conflict.

      When the cycle was set up it wasn’t done correctly.

       
    • This is similar to how 8th % Washington was in August 2011 when I posted http://www.urbanreviewstl.com/2011/08/pedestrian-signal-8th-washington-incorrectly-gives-a-dont-walk/

      The cycle was set up years earlier, but after 8th was closed North of Washington Ave it did’t make any sense for pedestrians to wait. The city saw their mistake and quickly corrected it.

      I’m not willing to accept incorrect work the way you are.

       
      • JZ71 says:

        In my world, if cars aren’t coming, and the light is green, I don’t really pay much attention to the walk signal (like most St. Louis peds). It’s great that the city responded quickly to your concerns, and completed the changes related to closing 8th, but I doubt that there was any malicious intent or real incompetence on this issue. But I also stand by my original assertion, that there is no “first” or “last” in a cycle, just a “next”. As long as everyone gets their turn, it also means that everyone gets to wait, for their turn to come around, again and again. It’s both literally and figureatively a circular argument!

         
    • Riggle says:

      Actually, you dont have to wait, cars have to yield while turning if they don’t have an arrow, the walk sign isnt for cars, and if you don’t have a protected left, you have to yield to peds in the cross walk.

       
      • Pedestrians don’t have the right to enter the intersection when given a don’t walk.

         
        • Riggle says:

          And cars don’t have the right to enter the crosswalk while turning while I’m in there unless they have an arrow

           
          • Huh? Cars going NB on 18th can turn right on green — a right arrow doesn’t exist. Cars get a green for straight or tight turns. Peds told to wait.

             
          • Riggle says:

            Cars have to yield while turning right on green to people in the intersection, the walk sign has no bearing on cars.

             
          • Pay attention: pedestrians with a do not walk sign are not allowed to cross the street legally. If they’e in the crosswalk and get hit and killed by a driver turning right it would be labeled the pedestrian’s fault.

             
  2. Bob says:

    It’s exactly the same walking on Washington, crossing Tucker on the north side of that intersection. The walk signal ends for both sides, while traffic westbound on Washington gets a turn arrow.

     
  3. Bob says:

    Is there a way the countdown timer could be standardized downtown? Pedestrians never really have a clue whether zero equals the end of the light cycle or another 15 seconds of green for cars.

     

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