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No-Pedestrians signs planned for a Regent Square intersection

If you live in or visit Regent Square frequently the following might be of interest. It's more pedestrian-oriented than bike-oriented: Edgewood and Swissvale Boroughs plan to put up signs forbidding crossing of South Braddock Ave at Sanders St in Regent Square. (Sanders is the next street after the traffic light at Hutchinson if you're traveling south on Braddock from Forbes.) I am opposed to this for several reasons: * Pedestrian traffic is vital to the health of the business district and neighborhood. * It is unrealistic to expect someone wanting to cross Braddock near Sanders to walk to Hutchinson to cross. * Square Cafe, D’s Six Pax & Dogz, and McBroom Beer Store are nearby. * A No-Pedestrians sign there would be ignored by most. * Instead of No-Pedestrians signs, a crosswalk across Braddock at Sanders should be put in, instead. Maybe a traffic signal? Some background: I am a member of the Regent Square Civic Association’s committee on Traffic, Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety. I’m a resident of Washington St in Edgewood for more than 20 years, and I believe our neighborhoods are stronger when we make walking and biking safe and easy. Edgewood and Swissvale Boroughs recently were awarded a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant for traffic and safety improvements along Braddock Ave (which is the border between those two boroughs from approximately the Regent Square Theater to Giant Eagle). The plan includes replacement of several traffic signals, improvement and repainting of crosswalks, new curb cuts (ramps) at intersections to help the handicapped or those with strollers, and improved storm drains that are safer for bicycles. Our committee is happy with most of these plans. But also planned is that No-Pedestrian signs (human icon with red circle and slash) would be put up in several locations. The most problematic No-Pedestrian signs planned, by far, are the ones at Sanders. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2017, I believe. I created a map of the TAP grant changes: (on this map, try zooming, click “more” in upper left for explanation) Our committee spoke to the Edgewood and Swissvale borough councils in early October meetings and made two requests: (1) That our committee be included in future planning of traffic and safety-related matters. (2) That No-Pedestrian signs NOT be placed to ban crossing of Braddock at Sanders, and that crosswalks be put in, instead. There was some discussion in adjacent “Nextdoor” neighborhood named “Regent Square” (on the Swissvale side of Braddock), and I understand that a number of commenters there were unhappy with these sign plans at Sanders. What do you all think? If you, also, want a crosswalk at Braddock&Sanders instead of a No-Pedestrians sign, I urge you to write your borough councilmembers. (Voicing your opinion here on bikepgh is fine, but if you want to affect these plans, this messageboard is not the ideal recipient.) Edgewood Borough Council: Swissvale Borough Council: The above is a message I put on's "Regent Square East" and "Regent Square" neighborhoods. Edited slightly for you non-locals.
2016-10-20 22:30:01
Here's a diagram showing what the boroughs currently plan, and what our committee proposes, as a safer, more community-oriented alternative:
2016-10-21 21:37:12
Without a cross there people will just jump out in front of cars by square cafe, 100 percent guaranteed.
2016-10-22 13:06:34
If a pedestrian gets injured by a car crossing Braddock there, the boroughs will have their asses covered (they are hoping) because they've put up signs that look like the below. They want to limit their liability.
2016-10-22 13:47:51
What is the speed limit there if it is not 15? And what is the objection to making it 15? Other than "oh there's a lot of traffic here and that will make it too congested". The response to which should be a direct and succinct, "Too fucking bad."
2016-10-22 20:08:51
It is already super congested there and the speeds can be close to 0 during rush hour.
2016-10-23 12:58:29
During rush hour, the traffic ~might~ be backed up. I live 2 blocks and often try to make that crossing to pick up food, and cars are usually rushing on by. The speed limit is 25, but of course, hardly anyone follows it.
2016-10-24 13:54:17
This makes me so angry I can't even begin to describe. Who is responsible for initiating this plan?
2016-10-25 15:23:41
As a neighbor (Wilkinsburg),  where do they think people will cross the street?      
2016-10-25 16:17:21
Blugh. I would rather have a 4-way stop there and full cross-walks all the way around. I say this as a person who drives, bikes, and walks through there regularly.
2016-10-25 16:34:21
People routinely park their car on one side and cross in the middle of the street to the other.   Basically this seems like a cover your ass thing. They'll put ip the sign.  Never enforce it. And if someone gets hit just wash their hands of it all.   Did anyone do a traffic and pedestrian study there?  Prob not.
2016-10-25 20:39:23
Traffic on Braddock Ave. sucks, I commute through Frick Park/9 Mile run and come out on S. Braddock and have a heck of a time crossing at Allenby.  On a side note, I don't think much of Edgewood government as I have the ticket window from the old train station in my garage and when they were renovating the station a few years back I called the borough building several times trying to give it to them, I figured it might be nice to send it back home but no one ever got back in touch with me to get it.
2016-10-26 13:50:03
To answer @edronline's question, yes, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission did a Road Safety Audit (RSA) of S. Braddock Ave in 2014 and they made no recommendation regarding crosswalks across Braddock at Sanders, though they recommended crosswalks and traffic signals at other intersections. The Swissvale and Edgewood boroughs took that RSA and decided to add no-pedestrians signs at a number of locations, including at Sanders, because they did not want liability if a pedestrian was struck by a car at an intersection where no crosswalk was painted. You can read the RSA here:
2016-10-27 13:18:56
Here's the question.  A sign with zero enforcement.  Is it really a sign?  (: Or, the better question is: a sign with zero history of enforcement.  Does it actually decrease liability?  Probably not given an enterprising lawyer.  
2016-10-28 21:31:15
Why not a pedestrian light? It would normally stay green (or maybe flashing yellow); when a ped needs to cross they push the button and get their 10-15 secs to get across. The rest of the time cars can continue to speed through just as before.
2016-10-29 13:51:50
That would make too much sense.    
2016-10-30 08:42:46
Sounds like a great place to try out a HAWK signal.
2016-10-30 20:51:49
We have a petition! You could sign it! I helped create a petition to Edgewood and Swissvale Boroughs to put in a crosswalk across Braddock Ave at Sanders St. This is between Square Cafe and D's Six Pax & Dogz, in Regent Square. Believe it or not, the boroughs' current plan is to put up No-Pedestrians signs at the Sanders intersection, in an attempt to ban people walking across Braddock there. Click for petition:
2016-12-01 14:20:58
Thanks! I signed the petition and faceshared it. Let's get the word out...
2016-12-01 15:03:29
Paul -- If you haven't already, I'd suggest discussing this with Darrell Rapp on Swisuvale Council. He's involved with the SPC Bike-Ped forum and is sensitive to Ped issues. Jerry
2016-12-01 19:49:05
@jdgPGH: thanks. Yes, the committee of which I'm a part (Committee on Traffic, Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety for the Regent Square Civic Association) spoke before the Swissvale and Edgewood borough councils about these issues a couple months ago, and we've talked to Darrell Rapp about it. He was one of the most receptive councilmembers on the crosswalk request. By the way, to anybody interested in this issue, we meet once a month in Swissvale and you could come to a meeting (usually Thursday evenings at 7pm). If interested, contact me.
2016-12-02 18:30:42
Edgewood & Swissvale borough councils recently approved a traffic study (to determine if it makes sense to put in a crosswalk at Braddock & Sanders)! Yay! Now we wait until May 2017 or so for the study results, and cross our fingers that they are "put in crosswalk". If so, construction might be (guessing) in 2018. In the meantime, if somebody in the community wants to make or buy some crosswalk flags for Braddock&Sanders, maybe we could try that? More details about the traffic study:
2016-12-31 20:01:03
Thanks for the info. FYI, the link in that post doesn't work, but the previous one does. I hope the traffic study isn't simply about estimating the impact of a crosswalk on vehicle users, and deciding whether it's insignificant enough. In an ideal world, there wouldn't be traffic studies, there would be studies about how people move around, whether they're part of "traffic" or not. There's an inherent bias toward people using vehicles when you start off with the notion that you need to study traffic.
2017-01-01 09:50:30
Thanks for all the volunteer work! Fingers are crossed that we get bumpouts. I would hate to see handheld pedestrian flags though. To me they seem like the opposite of what is needed and are actually a bad thing. They reinforce the mindset that the burden is on pedestrians and that the solution is for them to behave differently. That differs from drivers needing to take responsibility. It emboldens them to speed without consequence or even a feeling of responsibility. They can continue to be oblivious and if something happens, it was because the pedestrian didn't take enough action or didn't behave in the right way. It focuses people on pedestrian behavior and what pedestrians can do rather than on the behavior of drivers and our dangerous  driver culture.   I seriously do think that pedestrian flags would lead to greater probability of injury and death in the long run. A shift in mindset toward returning streets to pedestrians and being constantly aware of being responsible while driving. Moving our mindset in the opposite direction of that actually increases danger.    
2017-01-02 08:29:36
99 percent invisible podcast had a recent episode about salt lake city's grid and how it leads to very wide boulevards and fast traffic and cuts off one megablock from another.  They have pedestrian flags at a lot of intersections and the pedestrians find them pretty useless. I'm thinking if an intersection requires pedestrian flags, it needs to be redesigned. A flag isn't going to protect you in a crash.
2017-01-02 09:21:38
"I’m thinking if an intersection requires pedestrian flags, it needs to be redesigned. A flag isn’t going to protect you in a crash." +1
2017-01-05 12:23:35