While walking around lately, my attention fell particularly on the condition of pedestrian crossings. I’m a member of the age cohort that can be expected to have mobility problems, so it has some special significance to me that so many crossings are in terrible condition.

It’s particularly distressing that so many of the features put in place at considerable cost to make street crossing safe are in such disrepair that they constitute additional obstacles. And, the crossing of the railroad tracks by Fulton — what a masterpiece of impediment! Really, is there some reason that the tracks on Buffalo (and State) present such rough going? I’ve seen hundreds of RR crossings much smoother — why does Ithaca put up with it?

Winter is approaching and snow will add to the difficulty of getting around. I’ve noticed for a long time that many curb cuts at corners are made at the exact low spot on the roadway so that there is a guaranteed puddle (or ice patch) just where pedestrians are funneled for their street crossing. Why, oh, why? Road builders seem able to control the height and pitch of the roadway to really close tolerances, so I assume they could tell you where water will accumulate before work begins.

Well, “just saying,” as they say.

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2 Responses to “Crossings”

  1. Daniel Keough, BPAC Says:

    Even without changing the timing of the light, i.e. the traffic waiting at the lights wouldn’t have to wait any longer, NYSDOT could:
    >>give priority to the pedestrians, so when they push the button there is a perception that they actually work. The current situation is that when a pedestrian pushes the button, they see the next cycle of those green lights for the cars, advance green turning in front of them and the WALK still hasn’t come up, it seems broken. That system is poorly engineered, giving priority who motor vehicles and setting up dangerous interactions where drivers have a green arrow and pedestrians have a walk.
    An initial, non-controversial change would be to simply allow the WALK signal to be displayed BEFORE the turn arrow comes out.

    The sidewalk is so cracked like that because large trucks drive over it—which itself seems to be a problem of the road design: why do we allow trucks to be driving over an area where pedestrians accumulate?

  2. Daniel Keough Says:

    I was also noticing the SE corner of Buffalo @ Fulton, where S-bound traffic often swerve around a couple utility covers that are a bit recessed and unfortunately these are located right near the corner where some times I am waiting to cross over Fulton. It doesn’t make you feel safe when you see cars approaching and for a couple seconds they are pointed directly at you and the curb doesn’t just have wheel chair access towards the crosswalks–the whole corner is recessed/flush to the road, which enables vehicles to easily drive over it. One solution is to mount on the utility cover, such as I have seen on some at Green St near Cayuga St.

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