The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday October 4th

Chapel Hill makes moves to liven up street safety with colorful crosswalks

In Chapel Hill, efforts to liven up street safety and visibility are beginning with the new addition of colorful crosswalks, but some residents don't approve. 

Colorful crosswalks are striped blue and green rather than the typical white ladder design. They are being put in place to encourage street safety for all Chapel Hill residents and visitors.

The crosswalks are also meant to make street safety something residents and visitors will enjoy participating in. 

Chapel Hill Town Council member Michael Parker said although the colorful crosswalks seem new and appealing, there have been several complaints from Chapel Hill residents saying they stray too far away from the traditional look of a crosswalk. 

"We got a couple of emails in the past few days from folks saying that because they weren't standard they might cause confusion and problems," Parker said. "We referred them to staff and we asked staff to take a look at their concerns. We take everyone's concerns very seriously."

With growing concerns, Chapel Hill resident Ken Larsen said the central problem with the new colorful crosswalks is pedestrian safety. He said the lack of standardization may eventually lead to confusion throughout Chapel Hill. 

"When visitors from out of town come in and they are used to the standard white ladder type crosswalks, and when they see the funny colored crosswalks across the street, they don't know what it is," Larsen said. 

"There is an increased probability for calamity. Even though the crosswalks are very pretty and attractive, you are deviating from standards, which will introduce safety problems."

But the Chapel Hill Police Department said it supports the new crosswalks.

Lt. Joshua Mecimore, spokesperson for the Chapel Hill Police Department, said pedestrian safety is the top priority for the new crosswalks. He said, as a police force, the department is constantly looking for new ways to keep pedestrians safe and the crosswalks are another addition to ensure protection. 

"Anything that draws attention to pedestrian safety is a good thing from our perspective. We do things year-round to try to draw attention to pedestrian safety issues," Mecimore said. "We encourage people to use the crosswalks, and encourage drivers to pay attention to people crossing the crosswalks to make sure everyone stays safe."


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