Saturday, October 29, 2011

4th & Louisiana

Take note of how the white car is blocking the lane forcing south bound traffic to turn left into the middle lane. This is a common occurance in the afternoon.

It's great to have a school downtown. eStem has made great use of some wonderful historic buildings, adding to the daytime vibrancy and diversity of downtown. It's also changed traffic patterns from about 7:20am - 7:50am and about 4:00pm to 4:50pm. Turns have been disallowed in two spots at various times. No left hand turn signs were added on 3rd & Louisiana at two different spots. Currently, no eastbound turns are allowed though at one point no southbound turns were allowed. If there was publicity about the changing turning options, I didn't see it. It resulted in a few tickets for regular travelers who just 'didn't see' the new signs. Traffic is a manageable thing with the right plan, signage and education.

The left hand land of 4th Street going east becomes a feeder lane onto Louisiana during the drop-off and pick-up periods. Adults driving their children to school turn a partial lane, littered half with parking meters (half are shutdown via 'not in use/no parking' bags). This creates a scenario where drivers, some of whom are surely not parents waiting to pick-up their children, will not turn left due to the backlog of cars in line for the pick-up spot. In an effort to 'beat the light' you'll see cars half-way on 4th & half on Louisiana. For a while, there were cars lined-up on the left hand side of 4th waiting to turn into the alley near the school. This, despite the sign clearly stating: "No parking, stopping or standing anytime". Thankfully, that issue seems to have taken care of itself.

The concern here is safety. Children are crossing between cars on Louisiana, near the school in the morning, often not using the crosswalks. It's not just children, I've seen parents and staff (they wear name badges, so you know they're staff) cross between cars during the drop-off periods.

Credit to the three police officers directing traffic (does every school have three traffic cops?), they're quick to reprimand and point out the danger. The crossing guards are mindful, as well. It appears as it's often the parents directing the children to what they must think is the quickest way to the door. Quickest doesn't always mean safest, however. I fear the safety of the pedestrian. Parents & teachers, do your children a favor, teach them about crosswalks.

I took a few photos during the 4:30ish period to note the dangers.
This car created its own lane in an effort to get in the pick-up line/lane. It was at a stop due to the line of cars in front of it. You will see this every school day.

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