I would be curious for anyone’s thoughts on the marked crosswalk painted across Floyd Avenue at Millbrook Avenue six months ago.
If you’ll recall, a Dan Savage Middle School student was struck there by a sports utility vehicle in August. A month later, city crews put in a marked crosswalk and added warning lights to alert drivers heading east and west on Floyd.
Does the marked crosswalk make you feel safer or ease any concerns you have about your child walking unattended across what I like to refer to as “Floyd Avenue Speedway”? (I was walking the dog there the other night and saw someone I’d estimate racing 70 mph in a souped-up sedan.)
To be sure, the boy was found to be at fault, having darted in front of the SUV, police said. When I spoke with him last year, Jeff Barnes, the traffic engineer for the city, did talk about children needing a certain level of maturity when crossing “arterial roads.”
I get that.
Still, it’s a bad intersection for a couple of reasons.
1. Even as an adult, I don’t like crossing Floyd. The biggest reason are the drivers. They either drive too fast or don’t understand how to drive … or better yet, how to stop … at a crosswalk. How many times have you stepped into the intersection when it’s all clear on your side, only to see an oncoming car on the other? Then, as you continue walking to get to the median, the oncoming car blows through the crosswalk at the same speed or, seemingly worse, slows down but continues through giving you a sheepish look like “Oh, I think I was supposed to stop for you, but I’m not sure, so I’m going to keep driving.”
2. Seemingly worse is playing “Frogger” in the mornings or afternoons on school days when driving to work or driving my son home from school. I try to avoid the mess altogether by leaving early to work or finding an alternate route after school. But how many of us have been stuck in a line of cars at the stop sign on Millbrook … in either direction … trying to cross Floyd? You’ve got three issues: 1. Trying to find an open spot between cars on Floyd. 2. Predicting if the oncoming car on Millbrook is going straight or turning left. 3. Appeasing the person behind you who’s on your bumper thinking, “Why isn’t this person going?”
In the end, I think the marked crosswalk has been the best solution. I couldn’t see waiting at a stop light or stopping at a stop sign on Floyd at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night when nobody was around. When I spoke with the city traffic engineer last year, he laid out a fairly well-reasoned response as to why, at least for now, a marked crosswalk is the best solution.
One potential, and obvious solution to help ease tension at that intersection, is to walk more. Yeah, I know. I stated above that the intersection is dicey for pedestrians. But the more drivers see people in that crosswalk, the more they’ll get in the habit of actually stopping. As I’ve learned in my 20 years in Modesto, drivers will eventually come around to learning the rules of the road.
What are your thoughts? Do you want to see a light or a stop sign? Do you think a crosswalk is enough? Is the intersection even an issue for you? Let me know by leaving a comment.
VOICEOVERS: If you don’t know or haven’t heard, all the baseball games at Bel Passi today have been rained out. Last Saturday’s game was the coldest day game I had ever attended. No way with the rain today. That’s unfortunate. Losing an entire Saturday is rough for the hard-working schedulers. … Earlier this week, I was extolling the virtues of the A’s flagship station, KTRB (860-AM). Now, it seems, there might be an issue and the team might be hunting for a new station. Not a good thing a week before the season starts. Here’s a story about what’s going on. … I have to admit, I’m an NFL draftnik. Anyone see a good draft magazine out yet?