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Raised Crosswalks Should Be Used More Often

Everyone is likely familiar with what a crosswalk looks like, ramps on each side sloping down from the sidewalk level to the street level. Ever stop to wonder why the pedestrian must come down to street level then back up to sidewalk level on the other side of the street? With the raised crosswalk it is reversed:

Raised crosswalks are marked crosswalks that are raised to act simultaneously as a speed hump. Approach markings signal to drivers that the crosswalk is raised. Crosswalk markings or contrasting crosswalk materials (pictured) show this element is also a crosswalk. As both a marked crosswalk and a traffic calming element, raised crosswalks provide a superior safety advantage to pedestrians. Raised crosswalks are most appropriate on streets with only moderate traffic (<10,000 trips/day), such as a minor collector, or a residential street with a significant conflict between pedestrians and vehicles. This type of facility is particularly effective where heavily used trails cross a road. (Streets Wiki)

This is not a crosswalk you’d use across a busy aerial, like Kingshighway. It’s great in lower traffic areas where lower speeds are desired. Several crosswalks around the new Jazz at Walter Circle senior housing in East St. Louis are raised crosswalks:

Raised crosswalk on N. 15th  in East St. Louis, the new Jazz at Walter Circle senior housing building in the background
Raised crosswalk on N. 15th in East St. Louis, the new Jazz at Walter Circle senior housing building in the background
Another raised crosswalk on Walter St.
Another raised crosswalk on Walter St., bike parking is protected from weather and highly visible
A raised crosswalk brings the crosswalk up to the level of the sidewalk
A raised crosswalk brings the crosswalk up to the level of the sidewalk

The raised crosswalk makes the pedestrian network easier to plan & construct. My guess is the construction costs are probably a wash, but with greater benefits of increased pedestrian safety.

Related to the raised crosswalk is the raised intersection, I don’t know of a local example to show you.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    I get your passion for better pedestrian access, and I see the purpose for the raised crosswalks, here, as well as in other areas with high concentration of pedestrians (urban shopping areas, around transit hubs, college campuses, even suburban shopping malls), but, much like bike lanes, you’re fighting a fundamental, basic, numbers issue – you’re way out-numbered by vehicles and their passengers! When most intersections (are projected to) see hundreds (or even thousands) of vehicles for every one pedestrian, the vehicles WILL get design priority, as they should, from the engineers doing the design work. It’s about priorities – do you make it as “safe” as possible for several hundred vehicles or do you make it as “safe” as possible for one pedestrian? The answers ARE different, but not mutually exclusive – it’s about balance. The one time I drove through here was after a light snowfall and what I discovered was that the raised crosswalks are not well marked, creating a real hazard for vehicles. And as for your assumption about “construction costs are probably a wash” – um, no – drainage is a challenge that curbs help solve!

  2. Ramon says:

    I would tend to agree with the sidewalk assertion, but the bike racks in second photo are inappropriately placed. The current placement and orientation require the cyclist securing his bike on the hoop closes to the road requires the cyclist to be actually be in the roadway.

  3. samizdat says:

    Good idea. It would certainly aid in discouraging the idiots in this City who just flat out don’t give a rats ass about anyone else, and blast through signaled and signed intersections. Frankly, I am well tired of the argument that machines should dominate decisions on how street traffic should be regulated and routed. All designs should take into account–equally–every mode of transportation on wheels and on feet (or paws). It was wrong for this country to allow the automobile lifestyle (it’s a choice, BTW, we didn’t have to make) to gain dominance over humans in the first place. We have painted ourselves into a corner and we are now, as a result of automobile dominance and the accommodations for it, one of the least efficient countries on the planet with regards to energy consumption. Not to mention we have essentially become slaves to the automobile, and by extension, the various companies which profit from that dominance. To continue this status quo is just plain bloody idiotic.

    • Crybabies go home says:

      Sometimes life isn’t fair and equal. Deal with it.

      • samizdat says:

        So, am I to assume that those who violate your narrow world-view, or who advocate for something more than carscarscars, is a cry-baby? Listen up, bonehead. Life did not become unfair and unequal in a vacuum. People made it that way by buying politicians and voters, cheating people out of their money and their land and/or their house, maiming and killing in the name of profit and the fairy tale of a free market, waging war for resources which belonged to another country or ethnic group (as an American, this should sound familiar to you), using fear and ignorance against “the other” (the Germans have a good word for this: Auslander) to promote the narrow interests of the powerful and business. I could go on.

        Lastly…The idea that anyone who agitates for change to the ends of improving the lot of their fellow citizen humans, against the powerful and the status quo, is a crybaby, is just about one of the most stupid and dangerous lies abroad today.

        ‘Deal with it’. What a schmuck.

        • Ziggy Freud says:

          Your psychiatrist’s kids must go really expensive, private schools.

          • samizdat says:

            So, the gist of your retort is: I hate your opinion, so you’re crazy.

            Sophisticated argument there, stud.


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