Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's Not Your Eyes, the Pavement Marking is Supposed to the That Way

This spring, pedestrians and cyclists may experience safer crossings at two mid-block bike trail crossings after the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) installs zigzag pavement markings in high traffic areas to get motorists to slow down. The markings will be placed in line with the flow of traffic to catch the attention of drivers prior to the actual crosswalk.

The Virginia Transportation Research Council, VDOT’s research division, is testing the new markings in Loudoun County where the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) trail crosses Sterling Boulevard and Belmont Ridge Road. These two locations were picked out of 70 places where this trail intersects with roadways because of traffic volume, speed, sight distance, roadway curvature and data collection considerations.

VDOT installed the road markings at the Belmont Ridge location on Monday, April 13, and plans to install another set of markings at the Sterling Boulevard location on Thursday, April 23, weather permitting.

After the pavement markings are installed, VDOT will monitor traffic speeds and driver behavior for a full year. If the experiment is successful, VDOT may consider the zigzag markings as a more standard pedestrian safety measure. The zigzag pavement markings are a low cost alternative to other safety improvements at mid-block locations. The pavement markings come in two different styles. The Federal Highway Administration approved their use for this test after seeing the successful use of these markings in the United Kingdom and Australia.

photo courtesy of VDOT

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