Walk the Walk — Drive the Drive

Norwegian Crosswalk Inspires Silly Walks

Norwegian Crosswalk Inspires Silly Walks (link to excellent video)

We all want a safer community.  Walk It! Bike It! Lewisburg has lots of ideas and requests to make of others — whether that’s the powers that be or visitors to the area — but what can we do?  What should we be asking of ourselves?  What can we be doing right this minute?  A walkable town depends both on pedestrians being present and visible and exercising their rights, and also on recognizing drivers as a critical part of the same community.  Walk It! Bike It! Lewisburg suggests that we can all Walk the Walk and Drive the Drive right now!  Here are some suggestions:

  • As a pedestrian —
    • Be aware of your rights.  We’re working on an FAQ on the laws, but this summary from PennDOT’s PA Commutes page is useful.  And we have compiled this one page info sheet on crosswalks:   CrosswalkFAQsheet4_12_17.  Our most crystalline distillation boils down to two simple rules:  1) At locations with traffic lights, pedestrians must obey traffic control signals, and 2) At locations without traffic lights, vehicles must yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.  (With the usual caveat to always practice defensive driving and defensive walking — recognize that others may not know or follow the law.)
    • Thank or otherwise acknowledge drivers who yield to you at unsignalized crosswalks.
    • Consider carrying a bright handkerchief to enhance your visibility.  (There are some bright yellow ones available from LNC now, and we are considering getting them printed with “Walk It! Bike It! Lewisburg” on one side and possibly “Thank You for Yielding” on the other.)
  • IMG_9628As a driver –
    • Embrace driving on Market (so many of us avoid it!) and, when you drive there, show how it should be done.  Drive so that you are able to yield.  This means driving slowly, alertly, intentionally, and with enough following distance, even at slow speeds, to be able to yield for the waiting pedestrian in the crosswalk that the car(s) in front of you ignored.
    • Make a point of driving 25 mph (or less) as you enter the community (ours or any other for that matter).  When you cross the bridge from Montandon or come in on River Road north of town or cross the railroad tracks south of town…  Drive sedately on all of River Road south and north of town.  As you drive, consider what the speed limit on Market St west of 15 should be:  30 mph?  25 mph?
    • Learn about the Twenty Is Plenty concept and campaign.  While the speed limit is 25 mph in town and can’t be lower because of PA motor vehicle code, that’s an upper limit and drivers need to realize that it’s possible to go slower.  And so much safer!
    • Remember to do all of this even, or perhaps especially when you’re in a rush.  You won’t really gain appreciable time racing from stop sign to stop sign or light to light.  We need to remember to respect others even when it’s asking a little more of us.
  • 20 is plenty signAs a resident –


We now have a printable pdf of this information, condensed and compiled for sharing:  WalkTheWalkSheet4_12_17

Beyond this list, probably the biggest thing you could do would be to participate on the Walk It! Bike It! Lewisburg committee.  The committee meets on the first Friday of the month at 8am at the Borough Building (55 S 5th St, Lewisburg) and the third Thursday at 7:30pm at the Cafe in the Giant grocery store at Penn House Commons.  Call 570-523-0114 or email elmstreet@dejazzd.com to confirm in any given month.

But what do you think?  What else should be on this list?  Share your list of livable community hacks.  What are your secrets as a “resident expert”?

Comments

  1. Belinda Bergin says:

    An education plan for drivers is a great idea. After moving here i asked people if walkers had right of way at crosswalks without lights and was told no by many people. I will change my driving now that i know that pedestrians do have right of way.