News 8 Investigates: Foot traffic

As students prepare to head back to class next week, walkers need to remember the ABCs of crossing the street – Always. Be. Careful.

Research by the La Crosse Area Planning Committee prompted changes to certain crosswalks to help keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Study found there are seven problem intersections in La Crosse (p.31). The problem intersections were identified using crash data.

Each of these intersections averaged one or more bicycle or pedestrian crashes per year during a five-year period.

Of these problem intersections, the study also found the duration of the walk signal at four of the intersections on West Avenue was less than the seven-second recommendation by The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (p.78).

The La Crosse Engineering Department says within weeks of the release of the study last summer, they manually adjusted the walk signal to meet the seven second federal recommendation.

“The city actually made it eight. They actually added a little extra time,” said Jackie Eastwood, transportation planner for the La Crosse Area Planning Committee.

So if you want a walk signal, and the full amount of walk time when you get to the corner of a major intersection, “You’ve got to push the button,” said Eastwood.

This allows walkers and bicyclists to interrupt traffic.

“Otherwise, you are relying on the traffic that is in your direction,” said Eastwood.

If you don’t push the button, “You may get stranded in the intersection,” said Eastwood.

The La Crosse engineering department says there has always been an adequate amount of time for people to cross the street at the problem intersections along West Avenue.

But they needed to shift some of the time allocated from the flashing ‘don’t walk’ signal to the ‘walk’ signal to allow people more time to start their walk across the street.