Dropping a crosswalk in the middle of Second Street to accommodate library patrons would be both potentially dangerous and contrary to federal guidelines, according to Moorestown's traffic safety officer.
When residents complained to council about the inconvenience of using the crosswalk at Second and Church streets to get to the library during the construction of town hall, and the dangers of jaywalking that went along with it, township manager Scott Carew turned to Sgt. Randy Pugh for guidance.
A number of people suggested the township install a temporary crosswalk from the parking lot behind Peter Pan Gift Shop to the sidewalk that runs adjacent to the courtyard at the library to give patrons easier access. But Pugh said he examined the issue back in 2007 and came to the same conclusion: It's a bad idea.
The primary reason Pugh opposes a temporary crosswalk is due to the fact that it's too close to the intersection—a particularly high-traffic intersection—at Church and Second.
The federal government provides guidelines for municipalities to follow regarding the installation of crosswalks. There's an entire report on the Federal Highway Administration website about crosswalks, part of which reads, "Marked crosswalks should not be installed in close proximity to signalized intersections (which may or may not have marked crosswalks); instead, pedestrians should be encouraged to cross at the signal in most situations."
Pugh noted the federal guidelines are not mandates—but it's not smart for towns to make up their own rules.
"For a town to deviate from that, they do so at their own peril," he said, stressing the potential for injury and, consequently, lawsuits.
Pugh also pointed out that many pedestrians wouldn't even use a temporary crosswalk. He spent hours monitoring pedestrian traffic, and most people just crossed wherever they could, usually closest to where they parked their car.
Not to mention the police "have enough enforcements issues with the crosswalks on Main Street and Chester (Avenue)."
When the subject of a new crosswalk came up at Monday's town council meeting, Carew and members of council said they would follow Pugh's recommendation.
Township traffic engineer Jim Rudderman came to the same conclusions as Pugh, as did the state Department of Transportation when it performed a similar study in 2007.