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Monday, February 17, 2014

Dashing through the Snow

Dashing through the snow, climbing icy hills, across the street we go, hoping we don't get killed...

This snow mound in the middle of the crosswalk creates a hazardous condition. It was downright terrifying with our stroller this afternoon!

The thing is, at this specific location, the problem is entirely avoidable. The pedestrian refuge area consists solely of markings; there is no raised concrete island (nor ADA tactile warning strips). The snow plow that cleared the vehicular lanes could have made equally quick work of the crosswalk and pedestrian refuge. The only minor challenge of any type is avoiding the small concrete base for the pedestrian signal light.

Beyond the matter of getting the snow plows to clear out this specific mess, it raises a possibility for the design of pedestrian refuges. Recently, designs have evolved into a cut-through to accommodate ADA, rather than a ramp-up/ramp-down combination. Looking at it during the winter is enough to wonder if it would be ideal to align the accessible pedestrian ramps and ensure they are suitably wide that a small plow could clear the whole thing. The largest challenge that presents itself is the tactile warning plates they way they are currently being installed at many temporary plaza locations. To avoid being stripped off by a plow, it would be critical to ensure they were inset instead of simply overlaid on the pavement.

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