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Pedestrian Infrastructure

A Crosswalk Too Far: The Hunt for America’s Least Crossable Street

1:31 PM EDT on May 14, 2014

Good luck walking to church on North Military Trail in West Palm Beach, if you happen to start on the other side of the street.

Last February, Streetsblog readers determined the worst intersection in America. Then you pinpointed a suburban area with streets so windy and disconnected, it would take a seven mile trip to travel between two houses that shared a back yard. And for two years running you've helped shame the nation's most parking-scarred downtowns.

But there's a special class of shame-worthy street we have yet to fully examine -- and they haunt all corners of America. We're talking about the street with an enticing destination on the other side, but no access, no crosswalk, no safe way to get across. A street that separates more than connects.

Put in this position, a rational person would just make a dash for it rather than walk as much as half a mile out of the way. But that decision can also put you in danger. And that's the problem.

With some help from our readers and Twitter friends, we've put together a little collection of these divisive streets. Please share your own examples in the comments or send them to angie [at] streetsblog [dot] org.

Cincinnati: MLK Boulevard at Vine Street

Here's an unfortunate scenario in Cincinnati. A key stretch of Martin Luther King Boulevard operates much like a moat. On one side of the street visitors to the University of Cincinnati stay at the Hampton Inn. Almost directly across the street is University Commons -- a park area designed to be a "contemplative space." Wouldn't it be nice if visitors had access?

But to do that, they have to walk approximately a quarter mile out of the way:

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 2.53.23 PM

West Palm Beach: North Military Trail at Annette Street

This submission comes to us from the excellent Florida Massacre Twitter account, which pointed us to West Palm Beach's dreadfully isolating North Military Trail. Amazingly, this uncrossable barrier is right next to Northwood University.

If you want to walk from Dollar General on North Military to Papa John's pizza across the street, you'd have to travel 1.36 miles out of your way to access a crosswalk. Yeesh.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.23.27 PM

Cleveland: Carnegie Road at East 9th Street

Carnegie Road in Cleveland is dreadful. Running just south of downtown, it is so frequently interrupted by highway exits, it's more of a high-speed off ramp to somewhere else than a part of the city. Chris Stocking singled out this area -- Carnegie by East 9th Street -- for its utter un-traversibility.

Were one to walk from the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown to the popular Aladdin's Restaurant on the other side of the street, the journey would be nearly a quarter mile.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.00.58 PM

Raleigh: Capital Boulevard

This one comes to us from David Edmondson, who first blogged about the lack of crosswalks on this nine-lane suburban thoroughfare in 2011. Crosswalks are spaced about 0.3 miles apart on this stretch of Capital Boulevard.

It looks like this road is a nightmare to cross on foot. To get from America's Best Value Inn, on the west side of the street, to Starmount Mart on the east, you'd have to walk 0.28 miles.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.39.19 PM

Got a good example in your own town? Shoot an email to angie [at] streetsblog [dot] org.

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