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Dave Peterson: New Signs Help You Cross Third Street in Geneva Safely

New crosswalk signs are on Third Street at James and South.

The city of Geneva has recently placed new crosswalk signs on Third Street at James Street and at South Street. These signs remind drivers that the law requires motorists to stop completely when pedestrians are present in the crosswalk.

The signs are a result of citizen feedback by way of the Geneva Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee. Placement of the signs was done by Geneva Public Works in collaboration with the Geneva Police Department. The Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Third Street business owners provided helpful input. Funding for the signs was provided by Geneva's Strategic Plan Advisory Committee.

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After just spending a little time out there this past weekend watching pedestrians and traffic on Third Street, I can say the signs definitely have a traffic-calming effect, even when pedestrians are not present. This may wear off slightly as time goes on. 

Many years ago, traffic on Third Street probably moved more slowly. I'm not sure if Geneva is quite ready to go back to only horse-drawn vehicles, although it seems to work well for Mackinac Island. Maybe just dropping some Mackinac Island Style Olde Tyme Horse Manure along Third Street would slow things down and provide for an even more memorable shopping experience.

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The New Crosswalk Law (as of July 2010)

A driver must come to a complete stop (and yield):


• When a pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk.
• On school days, when children are in close proximity to a school zone crosswalk.

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Here is the part of the Illinois Rules of the Road relating to pedestrian's responsibilities:

(Please take special note of the Traffic Signals and Crossing a Road sections.)

Pedestrians

Drivers and pedestrians both are responsible for traffic safety. Drivers should always be prepared to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.


Traffic Signals, Walk Lights and Crossings

Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to drivers by obeying traffic signals,
observing walk lights and using crosswalks.

  • Walk (constantly lighted) — Pedestrians facing the signal may cross the roadway in the direction of the signal.
  • Don’t Walk (flashing) — Pedestrians may not start entering the roadway. A pedestrian who has partially completed crossing during the constantly lighted WALK may continue to a sidewalk or safety island.
  • Don’t Walk (constantly lighted) — Pedestrians may not enter the roadway.
  • Yellow Light (constant) — Pedestrians may not cross unless directed by a pedestrian control sign or police officer.


Crossing a Road

When crossing at any place other than a marked or unmarked crosswalk, pedestrians must give the right-of-way to drivers. This includes between closely spaced intersections where traffic signals are in operation.


Tunnel and Pedestrian Crossings

A pedestrian tunnel or pedestrian crossing bridge should be used when available.


Roadways

Pedestrians must not walk on a roadway unless there is no sidewalk or shoulder
next to it. Under these conditions, pedestrians should always walk as close to the
outside edge of the road as possible.

In two-way traffic, pedestrians should walk facing oncoming traffic. If a highway does not have a sidewalk but has a shoulder, pedestrians should always walk on the shoulder as far from the roadway as possible. Pedestrians should not walk on a highway when under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

Pedestrians With Disabilities

When approaching a pedestrian with a disability who is utilizing a guide dog, a
white cane, a wheelchair or other assistive device on a sidewalk or roadway, the
pedestrian has the right-of-way and is granted the same rights as any pedestrian.

Joggers/Walkers

Joggers/walkers should use jogging paths when provided. On public roads,
joggers/walkers should try to select wide roads with good shoulders. They should face oncoming traffic and remember to look and listen for cars. At night or any time visibility is poor, joggers/walkers should be in well-lighted areas and wear reflective clothing.

Other Safety Concerns

  • Pedestrians must always obey railroad and bridge gates and other barriers.
  • Hitchhiking — standing on the roadway to ask for a ride — is illegal.
  • Pedestrians should not stand on or next to a highway to ask drivers or passengers for any type of money or business.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dan Simon July 13, 2011 at 12:22 AM
Just a quick observation: I think these signs are a great idea and work well to remind drivers of Illinois law, but I have noticed some drivers treating these signs as stop signs and completely stopping, even when there are no pedestrians in the immediate vicinity. I suppose, if Third Street were busier, this could cause a traffic problem, but for now I think we are okay. Again, this is just an observation.
Dave Peterson July 13, 2011 at 01:06 AM
Dan, I saw that happening too. It may be that not all drivers have encountered such signs before or they just aren't reading all the way to the bottom of the sign. Batavia has one on Wilson in front of the downtown McDonalds and I haven't seen drivers stopping unnecessarily there. I'm not sure if they always stop when pedestrians are present either.
Pam DiDonato July 21, 2011 at 12:22 PM
I think it's a great idea, most people are just blowing through the crosswalks further down even when there are people in them.

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