Pedestrian flasher to be removed on Hwy 169 at Hawley Street in Mankato
MANKATO, Minn. — The pedestrian flashers and crosswalk signs on Highway 169 at the intersection of Hawley Street in South Bend Township, just west of Mankato, will be removed near the end of April. As snow plowing operations taper down with the arrival of spring, highway maintenance workers will be removing the signs, flashers, and pavement markings.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) made the recommendation to the South Bend Township board in February. After looking at the deteriorating signs that would need to be replaced, MnDOT evaluated their overall effectiveness and determined that the safest option was to remove the signs, flashers and pavement markings.
Recent studies have shown that marked crosswalks on high-speed, rural-divided highways have higher vehicle-pedestrian crash rates than unmarked crosswalks. This is due to a combination of a false sense of pedestrian security in marked crosswalks and the inability of drivers to stop quickly enough at highway speeds when a pedestrian is spotted.
“Current research shows that marking crosswalks in high speed environments actually increases the likelihood of a vehicle-pedestrian collision” said Brett Paasch, traffic engineer at MnDOT.
After removal of the signs and flashers, the location of the crosswalk will still be a legal pedestrian crossing, however it will be unmarked to encourage more awareness and caution from pedestrians looking to cross the four-lane highway.
“We believe the unmarked crosswalk provides the best option for the intersection at this time” said Paasch.