DENVER (CBS4) – Pedestrians in Denver who find themselves rushing to cross city streets all the time are getting some relief. The city is in the process of increasing the time given to walkers at crosswalks.
The change is the result of a new national standard set by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
“The federal standard has changed,” said Denver Public Works spokeswoman Emily Williams. “It was four feet per second. It will be changed to three-and-a-half feet per second so people will have more time.”
One intersection that has seen many complaints is the crossing of Colfax and Pennsylvania. Mary-Lynn Sullivan and her two friends live near the crossroads and told CBS4 they never feel like they have enough time to cross when they want to meet for drinks.
“When we cross Colfax, the light is so short that we get part of the way over and the light turns against us,” said Sullivan. “The cars are ready to go and they get mad at the old ladies trying to cross.”
In Denver, the crosswalks currently give the white walk signal for seven full seconds before the flashing red hand signal appears. The flashing hand signal informs pedestrians they should not enter the crosswalk, but are allowed to finish their walk if they have already started.
With the adjustment, the white walk signal length won’t change but the flashing signal will be longer.
Since each intersection is unique in its dimensions, the city will have to change the time for each one individually. The process isn’t expected to be completed until 2014.
“We have over 1200 traffic signals in the city of Denver, and for each of those signals we have to make the specific calculations to change to the new time,” said Williams.
The changes to crosswalk duration are not required, but Denver, along with other cities like Littleton, started the process months ago. Littleton adjusted all of the crosswalks on Santa Fe Road and Bowles Avenue last year, and city officials plan to update crosswalks on Mineral, County Line and Broadway in the near future.
– Written for CBSDenver.com by Conor McCue