Roanoke launches “Every Corner is a Crosswalk” pedestrian safety campaign

Local News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke is launching its “Every Corner is a Crosswalk” campaign to encourage pedestrian safety and reduce vehicle crashes involving pedestrians.

The campaign launched on Monday, but officially kicks off with a Facebook Live virtual event at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 17, and continues through Sept. 4, ahead of Labor Day weekend.

“Our message is simple: In Virginia, every corner is a crosswalk, whether it’s painted or not,” said Mark Jamison, the city’s Public Works Director. “So this campaign will reinforce that drivers need to stop there if pedestrians are present and pedestrians need to cross at the corners.”

The campaign is funded by a Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles grant and aims to reduce the number of pedestrian-involved crashes in the city, increase drivers yielding for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks, and encourage the correct use of crosswalks by pedestrians.

“The project builds upon recent City of Roanoke efforts and investments to reduce pedestrian-related crashes, including evaluation, engineering, and enforcement. In Roanoke, pedestrians are overrepresented in serious injuries and fatal crashes – which means that when a pedestrian is involved in a crash, it is more likely to result in a serious or fatal injury. Through this campaign we hope to increase crosswalk compliance by both drivers and pedestrians to create a safer, more pedestrian-friendly community.”

Andrea Garland, a traffic engineer for the City

To learn more about the campaign, click here.

The new Virginia law, which went into effect July 1, 2020, says drivers must stop when yielding to pedestrians at:

  • Marked crosswalks, whether mid-block or end of a block.
  • Any regular pedestrian crossing included in the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block.
  • Any intersection when the driver is approaching on a highway where the maximum speed limit is no more than 35 mph.

It also says drivers must:

  • Stop for pedestrians in all crosswalks, including ones that not painted
  • Watch for pedestrians (especially children) on the side of the road, and be prepared to slow down and stop should they step into the road
  • Stop for people crossing the street before turning right or left
  • Stop for pedestrians who have a “Walk” signal and anyone in a crosswalk. Drivers must stop even if the pedestrian is crossing once the “Walk” signal has expired.

And pedestrians are required to:

  • Always cross at the corner rather than mid-block
  • Be predictable and cross where drivers are likely to expect you
  • Look both ways for right or left turning vehicles before you cross, and use the push buttons when they are available.

Virginia law says that pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks and at intersections. However, the law also says that pedestrians should never step into the crosswalk — whether or not it’s painted — if there is not enough time for a driver to stop.

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