RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Drivers are ignoring a major crosswalk in Richmond and putting pedestrians in danger.
There’s always been a crosswalk on Dock Street near 17th Street but recently the City added flashing lights to help get drivers’ attention. Yet, 8News found despite the bright lights, many drivers still aren’t stopping.
We caught on camera drivers refusing to stop for father pushing a stroller. 8News watched as a guy walking his dog tried to cross, and we counted seven cars cruising through the crosswalk and flashing lights before someone finally stopped.
“It doesn’t help at all,” said pedestrian Sarah Neysmith about the new flashing lights. Neysmith likes walking her dog in the area that connects to The Floodwall, Canal Walk, Capitol Trail and a bike lane on 17th Street.
Yet when she has to get to the other side, she and others says it’s like playing a game of Frogger. She finds herself dodging cars left and right. “You kind of got to get across when you can,” she said.
8News spotted some walkers having to order cars to stop. “It’s kind of like waving a taxi down but instead you’re just like ok wait a minute, I am coming through,” explained Neysmith.
“I had to wait awhile, it was actually kind of scary to cross,” said Kyle Gatlin struggled to get a car to stop and let him across too. “I would really like them to pay attention more,” he said.
8News found there are plenty of warning signs for cars that the crosswalk is coming up. Not to mention, it’s the law. Drivers are supposed to yield to any pedestrian in a clearly marked crosswalk. Although truth be told, Richmond police have only issued two failure to yield summons in that area in the past three years.
“It’s a culture change. We’re encouraging people to walk more, bike more, said Sharon North a spokesperson for the Richmond Department of Public Works. She told 8News a lot of folks have been commuting on Dock Street for years and just aren’t used to all the foot traffic.
“Hopefully over time they’ll begin to recognize this is where pedestrians are going to be walking, so you need to slow down, you need to stop,” North explained.
As drivers get educated, North urges pedestrians to step cautiously. “Don’t just assume someone is stopping just because they slowed down. Don’t walk and text, don’t walk and talk, don’t have ear buds in. That’s just a recipe for something bad,” said North.
8News spoke with Richmond Police. They are aware of the increased foot traffic in the area, and they are stepping up enforcement. Meanwhile, the Richmond Department of Public Works recently installed similar high visibility crosswalks in The Fan.