Marked crosswalks safer option for pedestrians

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Walking around Picayune for the most part can be considered a safe endeavor.

But there’s one feature missing that could make shopping in the downtown area, and walking the city in general, that much safer; marked crosswalks. That need is not just for the downtown area, it also applies to any area in the city with pedestrian traffic.

For the most part motorists in the city yield the right of way to pedestrians. However, there have been instances where a pedestrian was struck by a motorist while crossing the street, most recently while crossing U.S. 11 to get to the post office.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Currently there are a few marked crosswalks in the city, but only one has a system of pedestrian crossing signals, which is at the intersection of Highland Parkway and Sycamore Road.

Marked crosswalks may not be needed throughout the entire city, especially in areas where foot traffic is negligible. But installing these safety features in areas where foot traffic is heavy would not only provide safety, but could be a boon to local businesses. When shoppers feel safe to cross the street, they will be more likely to frequent the area and subsequently spend their hard earned dollars. By no means would establishing marked crosswalks solve all of the city’s safety concerns. Just like with any law, people don’t always abide by them.

Mississippi has a law that requires motorists to yield the right of way to a pedestrian, whether they are crossing at a marked or unmarked crosswalk. An unmarked crosswalk pertains to any intersection, according to the 2010 code under title 63, chapter 3, section 1103. Exceptions are outlined in the law, but for the most part, an intersection is supposed to work as a crosswalk, marked or not.

The thing is, most people don’t take the time to read state or federal laws. So if the crosswalk is marked, it makes it clear the right of way should be granted to pedestrians.