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Dashboard view looking east on Main St.

Dashboard view looking east on Main St.


Woman begins crossing the street.

Woman begins crossing the street.


Car does not stop for woman in crosswalk.

Car does not stop for woman in crosswalk.


In the fall, the city rebuilt the sidewalks on East Main Street between Gibbs and Scio. The city also put in a crosswalk between the YMCA entrance and the East End Garage. The crosswalk is a natural mid-block location where people cross the street.

But few cars stop. Pedestrians have to wait until the coast is clear or risk getting run over by a car going 40 miles an hour down the street. (The speed limit is 30.) It’s also a difficult crosswalk because of the cars parked on both sides of the street. Motorists cannot easily see people crossing the street.

I’ve forced cars to stop for me in the crosswalk, but only if they’re obviously far enough away and going slow enough to stop. I’m not going to risk my life to prove a point. I’d be right, but I’d be dead.

Rochesterians can do a better job sharing the road with pedestrians. Last week, a car making a right on red beeped at me as I crossed the street in the crosswalk with a “walk” sign.

Here’s the law on crosswalks:

(a) When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk on the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, except that any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overpass has been provided shall yield the right of way to all vehicles.

(b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.

(c) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

Links of the Day:

– So much for the state putting restrictions on retail sales tax breaks. In Genesee County, a Dick’s is considered a tourist destination. Meanwhile, Darien Lake, an actual tourist destination, pitches itself as a business center.

– Even though casino revenues are dropping, Cuomo wants a second one in Niagara Falls.

– The case against State Senator Malcolm Smith, in one chart.

The many faces of Albany political scandals.

Why Rochester is called Smugtown.

8 Responses to Crosswalk Conundrum

  1. “No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.”

    Pretty sure you can see that Nissan SUV right behind the red one in the first picture, he’s just supposed to slam on the brakes and stop in 15 feet?

    I walk plenty of places around the city, but unlike many pedestrians I encounter I actually pay attention to my surroundings and if I have to wait 3 seconds to let a car go by or make a turn before I cross a street, then I just do it because it will take a lot less time for both of us than making a vehicle come all the way to a stop and wait for me, on foot.

    Sorry, but pedestrians could use some manners too.

  2. April 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm MrRochester responds:

    Pedestrians always have the right of way

  3. April 3, 2013 at 2:10 pm loloflo responds:

    This is an issue for most of the crosswalks in the downtown area. I park my car in the Civic Center garage and walk a block or so to my office building. I rarely cross at the Broad/State intersection because cars do not adhere to the walk signs. It is definitely safer to jaywalk than it is to use the crosswalks.

  4. Here is the reality….if you get hit by a car while you are in a crosswalk, you will possibly die, and the driver MAY get a ticket. I, for one, do not want to die. As a result, I wait until there are no cars coming, and then I hurry across the street as quickly as I can. Whoever came up with the idea of these signs that say cars must stop for people crossing is an idiot. I pity the poor souls who actually believe these signs and walk out in front of vehicles expecting them to stop. My advice, take care of yourself and don’t rely on everyone stopping.

  5. Main Street needs to be totally redesigned. Especially between Goodman and the Inner loop. But downtown and West Main are pretty bad too. ROAD DIET! Don’t give me traffic crap. Flow is 40 minimum. Engineer a slow down!

  6. The village of Fairport has pedestrian signs in the middle of its downtown area. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve driven through there and have people suddenly appear from in between parked vehicles (where the signs are), never look in any direction and just keep walking across the street regardless of oncoming traffic.

    They may have signs in the middle of the street that allow pedestrians to make this short trip but they need to be less stupid. The family of a dead pedestrian won’t be consoled by who has the right of way.

  7. 2nd the main st concerns. It needs to be redesigned along the entire length. No where is it good street for anything but cars driving as fast as possible. It’s ridiculously pedestrian and bike unfriendly especially downtown and near the public market. Two areas where it should be inviting to pedestrians and bikes

  8. The culture of ‘crossing the street’ is what it is and won’t change without radical enforcement of jaywalking laws. Think I’m nuts? Go anywhere in California. Jaywalking is not only enforced in all areas, but pedestrians expect to be able to take their sweet time crossing when they have the right of way.
    On my 1st visit to Hollywood as a young Jarhead in the late 1980’s I was lucky enough to meet the wonderful LAPD as they blew across 5 lanes of Sunset Blvd to line up myself and 3 other Marines for jaywalking. I laughed at them when they said that was why were were detained (didn’t go over well). I movd back here in 1995 and was laughed at when I stood at the crosswalk at Monroe/Oxford, waiting for the light to change on my way to bars with friends.
    Do I jaywalk here? Yup. The second I set foot back in California I go into crosswalk mode. Friends that have gone out west with me have mocked the ‘lone pedestrian, standing at the crosswalk waiting while a car isn’t in sight’, but by the end of their visit they appreciate the social compact that drivers and pedestrians have out there. They won’t run you down or lay on their horns at you if you cross slowly and with the light and pedestrians don’t hurl themselves into traffic, scream at drivers or do the ‘shuffle’ run those last few steps to keep from being mowed down.
    Unless the cops start a campaign of very public enforcement things here are left up to common sense. My 1st year as a firefighter for the city I was blown away by the number of pedestrians and bike riders who are hit by cars, and that is just in the city. You rarely hear about them in the news but ask around and you’ll see that the common sense part of the equation is lacking on both sides here. Want to be safe? Walk to the nearest traffic light and wait. Otherwise, ‘you plays you monies, you takes your chances.’

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