In fifth grade, I was a master break dancer (according to me). I’ve also become a skilled line dancer (again, according to me). And like many pedestrians, I’m skilled at the crosswalk dance.
You know the crosswalk dance. It’s like the hokey pokey: you put your right foot in, then out, then in, then out again. All the while, you try to figure out if that car is going to turn into the crosswalk or not. Hey, I never said it was a fun dance.
|We will extend the traffic islands at the 164th Street Southwest on-ramp |
to I-5, eliminating the HOV merge and making it safer for pedestrians to cross.
Well, we’re trying to end the crosswalk dance – and the guessing – at the busy ramp entrances on 164th Street Southwest and Interstate 5 in Lynnwood.
A project beginning soon (we need dry weather) will simplify the merge from 164th Street to I-5 by reducing the number of lanes that can make the merge from two to one.
As it is now, 164th Street has two lanes in each direction that can turn onto the I-5 ramps. The far right lane goes directly onto the freeway ramp, and the lane next to it can either proceed through on 164th Street or turn onto the I-5 ramp as a HOV. While all vehicles are supposed to signal their intent, we know it doesn’t always happen, and that’s where the crosswalk do-si-do comes in. Are they turning, or aren’t they?
This project will improve safety at the crosswalks by extending a pedestrian island that will essentially block I-5 ramp access from the lane that allows HOVs to turn onto the I-5 ramp. The remaining far right lane will be the only one where drivers can merge onto the freeway, simplifying things for pedestrians. The HOV lane will open to vehicles after the crosswalk. We’ll also be adjusting signage so drivers are aware of the change.
|We will improve pedestrian safety at the crosswalk of 164th Street Southwest |
and I-5 in Lynnwood by taking away the HOV merge lane.
This is the first of two parts of this project. In the future, we’ll also add pavement markings to make it a marked crosswalk and extend the islands even more. To further grab drivers’ attention, there will be a flashing warning beacon on signs that a pedestrian can activate by pushing a button at either side of the crossing.
Even with these changes, it’s important that pedestrians wait for a safe opening in traffic or for vehicles to clearly yield before stepping into the crosswalk. We don’t want people to have to dance their way to safety while dodging vehicles.