Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pedestrian Safety (unscientific) Poll Results

Two months ago, this site polled residents on pedestrian safety. Given the size of the city, 27 respondents isn’t statistically significant, but here are the results nonetheless:
  • 25% said “Yes, there is plenty of sidewalk and safe crossings"
  • 33% said “No, too many fast cars”
  • 7%   said “Yes, but more lighting is needed”
  • 22% said “Pedestrian facilities are inadequate”
  • 11% of respondents said that “They don’t walk much through the City”
The City of Laurel regularly addresses the issues listed in this poll through periodic lighting surveys, new sidewalk, speed surveys, new crosswalks, traffic calming, etc.  Since over 60% of respondents felt that pedestrian facilities were inadequate to some degree, we offer a follow-up question:  Assuming you live in the City of Laurel (see Map below), where do you feel that pedestrian facilities are inadequate?

Click to Enlarge


  1. This is a small thing, but I live near McCullough park, and walk there almost daily with my toddler. There is no cross walk or sinage across 9th st at Park, to help people from my neighborhood cross with small children and enter the park there - it is a main entrance, right by the playground equipment. Lots of people use it, and it should be better marked. Cars can come very, very quickly down from 198 using 9th as a cut-through. One of those nifty new crosswalks would be great, and maybe even a speed bump.

    There are also no sidewalks on 9th between Park and West, which makes that area seem hard to walk through and cut off.

    The other place I've had horrible trouble crossing is all along 7th street, where there are no crosswalks to get from the east side of town by foot to the library or Mucullough Park if you are strolling down Park/Laurel/Carrol.

  2. Ms. Cobb,
    Thank you for writing. I agree – the intersection of 9th and Park Ave needs a highly visible crosswalk and signage, particularly in light of the factors you cited. I will pursue this within DPW. We don't install thermoplastic crosswalks until the roadway warms up a bit, because the material doesn't adhere sufficiently in cold weather. Regarding the speedbumps, it is City Policy not to install them. There are a handful of roads in the City that have them, but they are all private roads.

    There is sidewalk along 9th street between West St and Park Ave, on the east side only. North of Park Ave, sidewalk is on the West side only. 9th Street has been added to the City's Capital Improvement Project list for fiscal year 2014, at which time it is projected to be completely refurbished, including new sidewalk. In the meantime, I will try to pursue intersection safety enhancements for the intersection of Park Street and 9th.

    Lastly, 7th Street...
    You are not the first person to bring up this problem - this section of the neighborhood(Park/Carroll/Laurel avenues) has no designated crossing to get to the west side of 7th street where the sidewalk and library are. Combined with the high speeds of cut-thru traffic on 7th street, this presents a real problem for pedestrians. Because of the age of these roads, it is unclear if the City has the right--of-way to install sidewalk along the east side of 7th street (or, at least, portions of it). I personally would not feel comfortable installing a crosswalk to cross 7th street in this area unless it was combined with some form of physical traffic calming - like a mini-roundabout - to slow down motorists on 7th street.

    Again, thank you for writing and your interest in walking safety; the City and DPW will work to address these issues. I urge you to attend our Transportation & Public Safety Committee meetings - they are always attended by at least one Councilmember, as well as staff from various City departments.

  3. Mr. White,

    Thanks so much for your response! Its very nice to get feedback to comments like these. Anything that can be done for crossing 9th at Park would be great for me and my family personally. Good luck with all the rest, and I'll try to come to meetings.

    Lisa Cobb

  4. I just learned about this site today, so I really look forward to being poll participant number 28 next time the need arises!

  5. Kim,
    Thanks for taking an interest. Feel free to ask questions or offer suggestions anytime about the City's infrastructure and transportation safety issues. This site is maintained by DPW staff.

  6. Hello,

    What a great site - I've wondered where to address sidewalk comments! First, I live in the 700 block of Main Street and love the walkability of Laurel overall, and appreciate the very visible efforts of the city to improve walkabilty (love the extension of the river park). The recent crosswalk work is super with great visibility. There are a few problem areas:

    1) the already-mentioned non-sidewalk along 7th St. to the library - yikes. It seems like a sidewalk on the west side would be easier to accomplish.

    2) the stretch between 7th/Main out along 216 to the McDonalds...this stretch is heavily used by pedestrians, and is extremely dangerous due to the high vehicle speeds and lack of lighting. I'd love to see Laurel/PG County/Howard County team up to make this a safer experience. I see so many women and children and people going back and forth with groceries, etc. It's just scary.

    Thanks! Scarlett Wirt

  7. Hi Ms. Wirt,

    1)Regarding 7th Street, we've received a lot of interest in getting this addressed; and I will bring this up to the T & PS meeting on the 23rd. (Feel free to attend - it is very informative on issues like this. 7pm in room #2 at City Hall). Council action may be required due to issues of right-of-way.

    2) The intersection of 7th and Main is in my crosshairs. As a pedestrian and vehicle gateway to the City of Laurel, it would be a great location to make dramatic pedestrian improvements. The City applied for a DOE grant, unsuccessfully, to address walkability intersections at select intersections across the City, including this one. We will try again to fund improvements here, using other avenues.

    Thank you for your interest in these issues.