RICK MAUK: Making 13th-Oakland intersection safer
Recently, I read in your paper that local law enforcement agencies have joined together in a campaign to crack down on jaywalking at the intersection of Oakland Avenue and 13th Street. This was followed up by a letter to the editor where the writer expressed contempt for the jaywalkers.
The problem is not with pedestrians.
As an inveterate walker, I get the opportunity a couple or so times a week to chance the traffic at this busy intersection.
Of the four corners, only two have any crosswalk at all. The “Walk” signs on 13th and on Oakland are on for only a few seconds every five minutes and must be manually activated by a button the size of a pea.
The traffic coming east down the hill on Oakland Avenue rushes to the intersection as though making the green light is a life and death proposal.
I suspect they speed up for pedestrians crossing the four lanes.
As it is, the speed limit on that stretch of Oakland Avenue is 35 mph.
Finally, there is no left-turn arrow for eastbound Oakland traffic turning onto 13th street.
The light turns green the same time as the “Walk” sign on 13th street. The drivers in that left-hand lane wait for the green light like drag racers.
At the light they stomp the gas to beat the traffic heading west. This is a disaster waiting to happen.
Four wider crosswalks with longer “Walk” times, enforcing a 25 mph speed limit on Oakland Avenue, a left turn arrow on eastbound Oakland Avenue and improved activation hardware would all make this a safer and friendlier intersection for pedestrians.