Richmond, Indiana 15th and South D intersection improvement

Here’s a suggestion to improve walk-to-school safety for a Vaile Elementary School in Richmond, Indiana. I sent this to the Richmond City Planner in 2013. Although it was well-received, Google Maps shows the intersection remains with all the same problems. I’ve since moved to a new town
but found this during an email inbox deep cleaning. I’m sharing it here in case anyone in Richmond finds it useful.

15th Street and South D Street in Richmond, Indiana

15th and D Intersection in Richmond, Indiana

This intersection is one block from Vaile Elementary– the children who go there don’t drive and many live within walking distance. Despite being a wide street just one block from the school, there are no crosswalks to cross 15th Street here. A couple things compound the situation to make it dangerous cross on foot. For reasons that are not clear, there no stop signs for traffic traveling on 15th street, although it’s a residential area, and there is busier street one block over– 16th is wider and and has no stop signs along it.

At 15th and D, the view of the potentially fast moving traffic is obscured by on street parking along both sides of the street. To cross the street safely on foot you have to walk about 10 feet into the street. Then, lean forward to see if you are about to get mowed down 40 mph traffic. Finally, cross the street. I lived just a few blocks from the school with small children. I would felt comfortable with my child walking there by herself if it wasn’t for this dangerous intersection.

Bumpouts shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians, improving safety.

The cheapest improvements would be to install stop signs, but the best solution would to also install “bump outs” on both sides of the street to shorten the crossing distance by about half. You can see from Google map imagery that the center two lanes are colored differently because travel lanes are worn from traffic while the lightly used parking lanes are a different color. The bump outs would extend the sidewalk to the far side of the parking lane, so you could stand /there/ and see if there was oncoming traffic, instead of of standing in the middle of the road.

Bloomington, Indiana has been applying this pattern to a number of pedestrian routes. The bump-out or “neckdown” pattern improves both safety and comfort by slowing traffic, improving sight lines when crossing and shorting the crossing distance.

I only sketched bump-outs on one side of the road, but they would be
welcome on both sides.

I realize this might inconvenience the snow-plowing that happens a few times a year, but I think the better things to optimize for are daily foot traffic of students and their families.

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Richmond, Indiana Reeveston Road and 24th Street intersection makeover

Here’s a suggestion to improve walk-to-school safety for Charles Elementary School in Richmond, Indiana. I sent this to the Richmond City Planner in 2013. Although it was well-received, Google Maps shows the intersection remains with all the same problems. I’ve since moved to a new town but found this during an email inbox deep cleaning. I’m sharing it here in case anyone in Richmond finds it useful.

Reeveston Road and 24th Street

The intersection we’re looking at here is Reeveston Road and 24th street.
Charles Elementary School is just out of the frame in the upper right. This is the corner of the school’s lot.

Reeveston Road and 24th Street in Richmond, Indiana

From the birdeye view of Google Maps, you can see a strange thing happen. Just a block away in Reeveston, there are nice, wide sidewalks on both sides of the road, offset from the road by several feet, with standard crossing distances at intersections. As you get close to school– where none of the students are of legal driving age– everything gets worse. The sidewalks disappear from one side of the road, the sidewalk get narrower, and they are pushed right up to the edge of the road, where it’s less comfortable and less safe to walk. Some crossing distances nearly double.

The planning to make pedestrian conditions /worse/ around an elementary school baffles me. Let’s fix some of the worst problems here. When approaching the school from the West on Reeveston Road, the crossing distances are incredibly long– easily more than 50 feet to get across the street in either of the two crosswalks at the intersection. (One crosswalk appears to just drop you in someone’s yard with no sidewalk on the opposing side!).

Shorter crossing distances near the school and sidewalks on the south side of Reeveston.

A solution is to narrow Southeast Parkway a bit near the intersection, forming something close to standard 4-way stop. This design update would both slow traffic some through there, and also cut the crossing distance in approximately half. I’m sure a version could still accommodate the necessary bus traffic.

I also sketched an improvement for the second north/south crosswalk in the same drawing. Since it’s just depositing pedestrians on someone’s lawn, it’s baffling why a long diagonal is used there, instead of the shorter perpendicular option. I changed that, and also went ahead and sketched in proper sidewalks on that of the street, attempting to continue the nice sidewalk system that’s present to the west on Reeveston Road.

I also find it incredible that there are no sidewalks connecting the direct route from Charles Elementary to Test Middle School, just about four blocks away from each other. Surely, there are families with kids at both schools who live within walking distance from both. There’s another wasteland of excessive asphalt in the intersection of Southeast Parkway and South A street that is ripe for improvement.

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