One of the ways the Public Works Department offers pedestrian access is through strategic placement of crosswalks around the City. Crosswalks provide guidance for pedestrians who are crossing roadways by defining and delineating paths on approaches to and within signalized intersections, and on approaches to other intersections where traffic stops. In conjunction with signs and other measures, crosswalk markings help to alert road users of a designation pedestrian crossing point across roadways at locations that are not controlled by traffic control signals or STOP or YIELD signs. It is important to note that marked crosswalks at an uncontrolled location are carefully selected and designed to ensure that they add to, and do not reduce the safety of pedestrians. That’s why the city of Kansas City adheres to the guidelines defined by the US Department of Transportation’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to ensure the placement of a crosswalk is appropriate in a given area.
As defined in the MUTCD, the City of Kansas City conducts an engineering study before a marked crosswalk is installed at a location away from a traffic control signal or an approach controlled by a STOP or YIELD sign. The study considerations include but are not limited to the following:
- Pedestrian volume
- Available traffic gaps
- Location of crossing (intersection or mid-block)
- Accident experience
- Sight distance (both vertical and horizontal)
- Pattern of crossing ( for example, all day or crossing during school hours only, etc.)
- Street width (does it have median or refuge island?)
- Speed limit
- ADA considerations
When a crosswalk is installed, the City must ensure there are ADA compliant curb ramp adjacent to the crosswalks so wheelchair users are able to navigate the area.
It is important to remember that crosswalks , by themselves, do not slow traffic and reduce pedestrian crashes. Inappropriate placement of a crosswalk can cause more danger to pedestrians. The City does not grant all requests for crosswalks because of these safety assessments and requirements that must be met to ensure public safety.
The City of Kansas City annually repaints crosswalks in heavily traveled pedestrian areas (when the pavement is warm enough) and is currently working on implementing an “Adopt a Crosswalk” program for resident groups to have the option to regularly repaint crosswalks in their neighborhoods with city-provided materials.
For more information on crosswalks and other traffic operations, you can view this document: Traffic Operations Manual