Waving for pedestrian safety

SLOAN’S LAKE – Some folks don’t wait for the government to solve their problems. When Sarah McDowell faced a steady stream of cars racing past her as she stood in the crosswalk at 26th and Tennyson trying to cross safely with her 3-year-old son, she decided to do her part to make the intersection safer for pedestrians. She installed canisters with flags made of bright orange and reflective tape with the instructions to pedestrians on how to use them to cross safely.

  1. Pick up the flag before entering the crosswalk.
  2. Be sure traffic has stopped!
  3. Give a thank you wave.
  4. Leave the flag in the canister on the other side of the street.

As a Highland resident for 15 years with a child and dog, McDowell says she has witnessed countless times when she waited at the crosswalk at 26th and Tennyson. “I’ve waited at the pedestrian crossing on 26th and Tennyson while cars zoom by, the drivers making eye contact, but not stopping. Then eventually a car stops, but then it’s a game of chicken to see if the cars on the opposite side will stop as well. After too many terrifying crossings (and witnessing someone in a wheelchair almost get hit), my 3-year-old and I decided to do something.”

She and her son created the flags with a $ 100 GoFundMe grant. They put them up on November 19. After posting pictures on local social media sites and receiving many positive messages, McDowell says she hopes to install more at 32nd and Julian and 42nd and Lowell.

“I love this neighborhood and would love to see it be more pedestrian friendly. We want to help be a part of the solution and not just whine about the problems.”

McDowell cites the efforts of other cities where drivers are trained to understand that a pedestrian stop means stop. Despite a strong desire from the residents in the area for a pedestrian solution, traffic engineers deemed the intersection of 26th and Tennyson unworthy of an all-way stop.

McDowell and her son plan to attend the WHNA meeting on Dec. 6.


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