In order to prevent California pedestrian accidents, and to assist an aging population, California is going to give pedestrians a few extra seconds to get from one curb to another.
Under the new federal standards being implemented across California, pedestrians will be assumed to cover 3.5 feet per second instead of four feet per second. In a150 foot intersection, this means drivers will get an extra six seconds of walking time. The law was approved last year and is expected to become California policy within two years. The policy has already been put into place at some intersections in San Jose and San Francisco.
In 2008, California had 620 pedestrian deaths and 13,405 pedestrian injuries. The fatality rate for pedestrians is above the national average. These changes are good news to aging Californians and individuals with health problems.
However, not everyone is happy with the new policy. Because pedestrians will have extra time to cross, red lights will last longer for drivers, which will lead to more congestion, particularly on expressways. In addition, at intersections with a lot of pedestrian traffic, equipment will need to be changed at an average cost of $12,000 to $20,000 per intersection. The cost for expressways could be $2 million each, which does not include maintenance costs.
Click the following link to read more about the new California pedestrian policies.