Streetfilms: Introducing the Pedestrian Peek-a-Boo

This excellent Streetfilm from Robin Urban Smith and Clarence Eckerson is another in a series of vids on cheap and effective streetscape alterations that improve safety for all users. Writes Robin: 

Daylighting is a simple pedestrian safety
measure achieved by removing parking spaces adjacent to curbs
around an intersection, increasing visibility for pedestrians and drivers and
minimizing conflicts. It’s beneficial to young and old, but is especially helpful to children, who often cannot see, or be seen by, oncoming traffic. By removing parking adjacent to the crosswalk, the
child does not have to wade into the street to see vehicles entering the intersection.
At the same time, drivers don’t have to roll into the crosswalk
to see if pedestrians are waiting to cross.

As you’ll see, daylighting is popular with pedestrians across the city (along with at least one driver). And DOT is on the case, replacing parking at some intersections with curbing, which can then support greenery, extra sidewalk space, or bike racks. Of course, there are thousands of streets that could use the same treatment.

Finally, the Streetfilms crew thinks the term "daylighting" is "a little stale," and asks viewers to come up with their own terms. Clarence suggests "Pedestrian Peek-a-Boo." If you can top that one, have at it.

  • apu

    one other thing “daylighting” helps with is stormwater mgmt. The example you showed from pdx is actually intended as that with the added benefit of providing better pedestrian visibility.

    Why not call this ped surprise!!!!

  • Rhywun

    And unlike speed limits, this actually works.

    There’s a no through-traffic, deliveries-only street near my work (Broadway and Cedar) where cars routinely drag-race at 50mph or more to beat the light at Broadway. And this corner is *completely* blind (my building fills the block and there is a food truck parked at the corner every day). Nevertheless I see people blithely cross Cedar against the light–without looking–every day.

  • This is one of the best ideas that this non-engineer/planneer professional has ever seen discussed here/on Streetfilms.

    Of course while waiting to cross non-daylighted intersections where drivers often speed, I will continue my own traffic calming practice of deliberately visibly encroaching on the car lane, or “jaywaiting.” If bikes appear, I step out of their path, but not that of cars.

  • I meant “non-engineer/planner.”

  • Gargamel Tralfaz

    Don’t you just love this idea? Even if we could do this at 20% of all NYC intersections, it would be an increase in green space, ped safety, and make the city overall less chaotic.

    Maybe even children would have a shot at getting to school without being in fear of their lives while creeping into an intersection.

  • Yeah, I’m all for the building of landscaped islands to help in this purpose since they also act as traffic calming but isn’t already illegal to park within 25ft of a crosswalk or 50ft from a stop sign?!?! Sounds like more parking enforcement could help with this problem (but we know that’s a current issue in its own right in NYC).

    Also if your gonna’ put bike parking in these corner areas, don’t use “wave” bicycle racks. They don’t meet the APBP minimal requirements for adequately secure bicycle parking.

  • wheel

    Still might be stale but I like it.
    The unscrambled amble
    verb: make intelligible
    noun: a leisurely walk (usually in some public place)

  • First of all, thanks to Robin, Clarence and the gang for another great Streetfilm! We’re going to present our petition to a Community Board committee tomorrow night, so it couldn’t come at a better time.

    Interestingly, we’re focusing on removing parking from around the corner – on Skillman Avenue, in the video you can see where we put our sod on Park(ing) Day. Our idea is that that would allow drivers to see oncoming cars better and thus have time to pay attention to pedestrians. But removing a space or two near the stop line would definitely help as well.

  • Tod

    Andy B – no, those are not the rules in NYC. You can park right up to the crosswalk. May be you are thinking of MUTCD or other (suggested) guidelines.

  • Rhywun

    When I lived in (West!) Germany, there was often a convex mirror installed at a blind corner so drivers wouldn’t smash into each other. I imagine pedestrians would find them useful, too. I don’t imagine that such a mirror would last more than ten minutes on a street corner in NYC, however.

  • Well Tod, if you are correct, it sure sounds like this is one of the ideas from the MUTCD that NYC should follow. I believe these guidelines are in the MUTCD to address exactly this problem.

    BTW, the parking rules I posted above in message #6 are law in NJ.

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