Posted 6:46 PM 10/16/2012 : Safe vs. unsafe crosswalks
There are a lot of "What-ifs" after two women were killed and a toddler was injured when they were hit by an SUV as they crossed a street in Colorado Springs. Even though the pedestrians had the right of way at intersections, there is no marked crosswalk where they were crossing on the busy wide road.
There is a marked crosswalk 650 feet to the east where there is a traffic light and pedestrian signals. "Because that's where we can have the best traffic control to assure the safety of pedestrians using crosswalks," said Colorado Springs Transportation Manager, Kathleen Kruger. A thousand feet to the west there is a pedestrian underpass with direct access to the neighborhood elementary school. "Which provides really our maximum pedestrian safety, because you have no conflict with cars whatsoever."
City engineers say there is a lot of study and planning that go into where marked crosswalks are placed. "If we have better alternatives for pedestrians we want them to use those better alternatives." Often they don't put in marked crosswalks because there are places that are simply not safe to cross. Crosswalks can also become ineffective if overused. "If you have too many crosswalks then drivers really are going to ignore them because they're having trouble getting from point A to point B.