Wasting paint on pedestrians?

The City of Austin doesn’t believe in it. And it isn’t because yellow paint is available and white paint isn’t. Have you looked at vehicle stop lines and pedestrian crosswalks lately?

Traffic fatality number 35 was not a pedestrian, but the three fatalities before that were. Despite deaths and accidents on South Congress, Ben White, and Riverside, the City continues to send crews out to drop paint over and over and over again to mark traffic lanes for vehicles, while permitting major crosswalks to be obliterated.

Street stripes will be painted, repainted, and repainted once again; yet, crosswalks are neglected and allowed to fade, fade, fade. There’s much lip service paid to making Austin a walkable city, but little done to promote safety for walkers. Not even repainted crosswalks. And don’t get me started on the timing of traffic signals to make crossing a near thing for the unencumbered able-bodied and impossible for the elderly, the disabled, and those carrying babies and pushing strollers or managing toddlers. And let’s not even think about the dearth of sidewalks.

4 Comments so far

  1. M1EK (unregistered) on August 5th, 2005 @ 9:28 am

    Tommy Eden and I complained about this multiple times while we served on the UTC. The city basically hemmed and hawed and said that it was due to some combination of:

    1. A machine being broken
    2. A completely different queue (different type of paint)

    #1 was eventually fixed
    #2 is true, but not an adequate excuse for me – basically they were saying that the paint for crosswalks needs to be applied more frequently (since cars cross that line much more often than they do lane markers), and that they can’t afford thermoplastic everywhere to make up for that. And it IS true that all over town there are places where the dashed lines between lanes are also faded away to nearly nothing.

    In general, somebody needs to crack some heads down there and establish a baseline non-negotiable set of “things we do if we want to call ourselves a first-world city”, and one of those is making sure that you can see the crosswalks and lane markers.

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on August 5th, 2005 @ 9:40 am

    Every time that I think about taking a photograph of some of the offending locations, I don’t have a camera. I’ve contemplated doing a P.I.R., but my experience in the past has not been good (e.g., documents known to exist not provided, etc.), followed by a letter to the city manager and perhaps also to members of the council. There are not enough pedestrian crossings on any of the three streets mentioned. It will take the death of an Anglo mother and several of her children to get anything changed. Have you noticed that, among the “improvements” for Riverside is the elimination of the safest spot to cross in miles? That’s the sharp-angled southeast corner at the intersection with Congress. Only the fact that north-heading vehicles on Congress must slow a bit in order to make a right turn onto Riverside saves the Poor Pedestrian, and now “they” plan to shave the corner.

  3. M1EK (unregistered) on August 5th, 2005 @ 12:23 pm

    Get the camera out there, and make a record. The only real way to get attention paid to undermaintained infrastructure is through the power of embarassment, a la


  4. Alex (unregistered) on August 8th, 2005 @ 5:22 pm

    Here, Here!

    And a nice green sign that reads “LAMAR” hanging over 5th and 6th street couldn’t hurt too much either, could it?

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