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Guidelines for Installing an In-Street Pedestrian Crosswalk Sign

The MUTCD regulates installation of an in-street pedestrian crosswalk sign.  Specific guidelines are available online at this site.  The following is a quick introduction to the topic.  Please consult the MUTCD itself during the installation process.

Factors affecting the installation of an in-street pedestrian crosswalk sign:

  • Motorist sight distance.  No traffic control sign or signal will do much good if drivers have inadequate reaction time.  Guidelines for determining minimum safe distances are found in the MUTCD and from highway engineering departments.
  • Traffic volume.  A rural road that serves only a handful of drivers a day has little need of an in-street pedestrian crosswalk sign, but an urban thoroughfare traversed by thousands of drivers daily has marked need of such notices.  In between these two extremes, sign placement should be guided by local traffic studies.
  • Accident history.  An area with a high rate of pedestrian/vehicle accidents may benefit enormously from an in-street pedestrian crosswalk sign, especially when the road has four or more lanes and/or a pedestrian refuge island in its center.  The opposite is indicated if collisions are rare or non-existent.
  • Posted speed limits.  In general, local speed limits of between 25 and 45 mph are ideal locations for an in-street pedestrian crosswalk signs.  There are exceptions to this, however, depending on accident history and other factors.
  • Presence of other traffic safety measures and/or devices.  These may include curb ramps, established bus stops, reduced curb radii, and enhanced street lighting.

Some areas should never have an in-street pedestrian crosswalk sign—or any other crosswalk markers, for that matter.  These include:

  • Areas with a high amount of commercial truck traffic.
  • Areas in which vehicle turning movements are common.
  • Areas that contain visibility impediments like buildings, non-removable vegetation, or anything that might hinder easy recognition of the in-street pedestrian crosswalk sign.

Conclusion

An in-street pedestrian crosswalk sign can be an effective tool for enhancing public safety.  To accomplish its goal, however, these notices should only be used in accordance with good sense and established guidelines.