Monday, May 23, 2011

Pedestrian Peeves

Recognize this?  It's an intersection that you are probably familiar with if you are a Waukesha resident.  It's the google streetview of Barstow Avenue and the downtown Riverwalk.
Whoever designed the Riverwalk in Waukesha did a lovely job. It really is a fantastic asset to the City.  But  don't try to cross any streets! It's like they just ignored the fact that people might want to get from one part of the riverwalk to another.  The crossing at Barstow, above, is a great example.  Wouldn't it have been nice if they had included a raised pedestrian crosswalk, a pedestrian island in the middle, or--could it have been possible?--if they had bothered to align the crosswalk so it went STRAIGHT across the intersection instead of at a crazy angle.

That's one example of a "pet peeve" of mine I am eager to share at the public input meeting for the City's Bike and Pedestrian Plan on Wednesday.

Here's another pet peeve: Walk buttons.

Walk buttons: they make you feel better after you push them, but that's about it.
My 2-year-old loves to push buttons, and walk buttons are no exception.  And because we do a lot of walking in downtown Waukesha, I have realized that pushing the walk buttons has absolutely no effect on the traffic signal.  Not during the day, not at night.  Never.  (Even though they don't influence the traffic signal, they still do serve a purpose for people with vision impairments who can listen for the voice that directs the button-pusher to wait until the walk sign turns on). 

Here's my thought:  during non-rush-hour periods, why not hook up the walk buttons to the traffic signal program, so that if a pedestrian is waiting, it can pre-empt the usual sequence?  This doesn't have to be done everywhere, but at some of the high-volume pedestrian crossings it would be nice.

How about you?  Do you have a "pet peeve" for walking or biking Waukesha that you would love to see fixed?  Or do you have an idea for providing some kind of bicycle or pedestrian connection?  Take a look at what the WBA has come up with so far and let us know if we're missing anything!  Or, just come to Wednesday night's public input meeting:

Wednesday May 25
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
E.B. Shurts Building
810 W College Avenue
Waukesha, WI 53186

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