Crosswalk flagged for
by Jenny Gerow
on the barrels at the crosswalk (above), which spans Jefferson
Park Avenue from the B1 parking lot to New Cabell Hall, is
a notice from the City of Charlottesville. It states: Before
stepping into the street, grab a flag, wave it while crossing
the street, then deposit it in the orange barrel on the other
side. Thank you. (This strategy is successfully being used
in Maryland and Utah.) Work on a long-term plan to relocate
the crosswalk is currently under way.
By Matt Kelly
Gamble, a tall, lean religious
studies professor, paused and looked both ways for traffic
but did not use one of the provided orange flags to cross Jefferson
Park Avenue near the B-1 Parking lot on a recent morning.
many people use the flags. Flags are stolen sometimes, he
said, although he acknowledged, This crossing is a real
hazard, and there have been any number of injuries.
crosswalk, which connects the B-1 parking lot with central Grounds,
will be moved in the next six to eight weeks. After English professor
Cynthia Wall was struck by a car there last fall, the city put
red flags for pedestrians to carry across the striped intersection
to alert motorists. The flags are to be deposited in barrels on
either side of the crossing for reuse.
flag system is intended to give pedestrians more visibility, said
Angela Tucker, the citys development services manager. Some
people have used the flags, but when they were first put out flags
were stolen and had to be replaced every other day. The system
will be discontinued when the crosswalk is moved.
recommended that they change the location of the crosswalk,
said Mark Fletcher, chairman of the Universitys Security
and General Safety Committee who participated in a tour of sites
of concern in November.
observations on a recent Friday morning showed most pedestrians
ignored the flags.
lot of [the drivers] dont seem to know they are supposed
to stop, said English professor Hoyt Duggan.
a lot of traffic through here, said Gamble.
And when the bus is stopped, that blocks the vision [in
the direction of the Medical Center] so people coming around the
buses cant see.
who uses the crosswalk every day, said moving the crosswalk 150
feet east may be an improvement.
crosswalk is near a city bus stop and the point where westbound
traffic splits into two lanes. When a city bus stops in the right
westbound lane to accept passengers, traffic moves into the left
lane to drive around the bus. The stopped buses block westbound
drivers view of pedestrians as they step onto the crosswalk.
the crosswalk east, so it lines up with the stairs leading to
New Cabell Hall, distances it from the bus stop and the split
in lanes, so pedestrians would only cross two lanes of traffic.
doubts the move will help.
has been a change in the driving culture [in the last several
years], and they are not inclined to stop, he said. People
drive by here at a good clip, and people who arent thinking
of stopping and arent observant dont have a lot of
time [to stop for a pedestrian].
University and the city of Charlottesville are working together,
with U.Va.s Department of Parking and Transportation Services
building a staircase from the B-1 lot to street level and the
city relocating the crosswalk to meet it.
the steps are relocated, we would provide the curb cuts, the crosswalk
and black out the existing crosswalk, said Tucker.
cost to build a new staircase, demolish the old one and relocate
a nearby emergency telephone is expected to be about $12,600,
said Rebecca White, director of the Department of Parking and
crossing was added to the safety committees list of crossings
to examine, which includes the grade crossing near Memorial Gymnasium,
the crossing near Kerchoff Hall, the crossing in front of Madison
Hall and a crossing on University Avenue near Mincers. Fletcher
said the Memorial Gym crossing was made safer by replacing a light
bulb. The others will be considered in the future.