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Hot Topic: Crosswalks … and 3 Things to Remember


Catherine Ragin Williams |
November 7, 2019

Crosswalks have recently been under a lot of scrutiny, and it’s no wonder. On Oct. 30, NASA Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer sent the following note to employees:

JSC team,

An employee was struck by a vehicle on-site at a crosswalk just last week.  The employee went to the clinic and is doing well, but this serves as a good opportunity for all of us to take a moment to think about pedestrian safety.   I often drive into the center before the sun is up and I can attest to the fact that it is critical that drivers and pedestrians are aware of their surroundings as we transition to work.   Please take a moment to review the following reminders about pedestrian safety.

Thanks

MG

As Geyer conveyed during the Nov. 6 All Hands (watch it if you missed it!), that simple note garnered more feedback to his mailbox than any other issue had ever before. Crosswalks may seem mundane, especially when considering the daring work we do to explore the cosmos every day, but even in the mundane lies possible danger.

There are 3 big things to remember about crosswalks as we press forward in our important tasks to maintain a robust human presence in space:

#1: Distracted pedestrians are complicit in the risks associated with crosswalks.

When you enter a crosswalk, your sole focus, at that moment in time, should only be on crossing safely. The pull to check and gaze at our pocketable computers, or smartphones, is strong — but we must avoid any activities that impede our line of sight of approaching vehicles.

Other guidelines to consider:

Do not cross the street at any other point than a crosswalk.

When preparing to enter a crosswalk, ensure you are seen by oncoming traffic prior to stepping off the curb and proceeding into the crosswalk.

Look both ways before crossing a street and before stepping from behind a parked vehicle.


#2: Even though it may be dark outside, there are still pedestrians (and deer!).

While it may be tempting for drivers to be lax in their attention to possible hazards during dusk or dawn, just like them — others are also working and/or commuting. It’s even more crucial for drivers to be aware and focused on their surroundings in low-light situations. With the recent time change, there are increased periods of limited visibility — and thus, increased danger for drivers and pedestrians.


#3: Obey the speed limit and be courteous.

Around site, the speed limit is usually 25 mph and, during some timeframes, even less. Despite this, there are still close calls entered about drivers whipping through crosswalks or speeding merrily on their way. This should simply not be happening. Obey the posted speed limits, and be courteous as you wield your more-than-2,000-pound hunks of metal and plastic on the roadways.

And bicyclists, we see you. Here are some guidelines to consider as you add to the roadway mix:

Walk a bicycle across a dangerous intersection and all pedestrian crosswalks.

Do not weave in and out of traffic or ride out from behind a parked vehicle.

Flow with traffic; do not “squeeze through” on the right or left side of traffic.



For more on Johnson’s official traffic regulations, check out the handbook. All things considered, it’s this November’s must-read.


Newly painted Dare.Unite.Explore crosswalk. Image courtesy of Nick Page.
Newly painted Dare.Unite.Explore crosswalk. Image courtesy of Nick Page.