CHARLOTTE — Spring is in the air in Charlotte.
The weather is warmer and people are out. Charlotte’s entertainment spots, restaurants and nightlife are flooded with people. And as the city’s urban sprawl continues, pedestrian safety is a top issue.
One way officials are addressing it is with pedestrian hybrid beacon crosswalks, which are popping up all over the city, including on The Plaza at Duncan Avenue.
The biggest difference between pedestrian crossings and traditional crossings is that they have beacons that instruct vehicles on when they should stop and when they can proceed. But even as Traffic Team 9′s Mark Taylor was filming this story, he could tell a lot of drivers were confused, so he asked the Charlotte Department of Transportation to explain.
As Angela Berry from CDOT was walking up to Taylor, they caught drivers illegally driving through the crosswalk and saw a pedestrian running through it before the light turned red.
Here’s how the crosswalks work.
“So a driver should see the yellow flashing light at the bottom to flash,” Berry said. “That warns you ‘hey, a pedestrian triggered the signal and you need to pay attention.’ And a solid yellow, you should definitely be slowing down. And when it goes to the solid red, you should stop at the stop walk here.”
But Berry said the biggest confusion for drivers is whether to proceed after the pedestrian has crossed -- even if the light is red.
“If the crosswalk is clear, you may proceed,” Berry said.
“Even if it’s red?” Taylor asked.
“Even if its wig-wagging red,” Berry replied.
Even people who use the crosswalks regularly are concerned -- they’re worried about those who don’t understand what to do when they encounter one.
“I do know how they work but I agree, I think some of the drivers -- some are more aware than others on how they work,” one resident told Taylor.
“Does that concern you?” Taylor asked.
“I always give it an extra beat before I cross,” the resident replied.
Expect to see more of those crosswalks. Taylor learned 44 more are either planned or already under construction across Charlotte.
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(WATCH BELOW: Mother films video as drivers ignore signals at busy intersection crosswalk near day care)
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