To improve pedestrian safety in Waitsfield Village and Irasville, the town and the Mad River Valley Planning District (MRVPD) are working with Local Motion and the Vermont Department of Transportation (VTrans) to place in-street signs at Waitsfield Elementary School, Carroll Road and Village Square Shopping Center crosswalks. In-street crosswalk signs are effective tools to enhance awareness of and yielding to pedestrian crossings and to help remind motorists of local laws. These signs are on loan from Local Motion for this one-month demonstration.
To assess the effectiveness of the in-street crosswalk signs and help determine next steps, the town of Waitsfield and MRVPD are seeking public input. Those who drive, walk or bike through Main Street during the pilot project are asked to participate in a brief feedback survey. The survey can be found at http://bit.ly/Crosswalk-Feedback and through the QR code posted at the crosswalks.
The in-street crosswalk sign pilot project grew out of the Waitsfield Tiger Team work, an on-going collaboration between Waitsfield, MRVPD and VTrans that began in January 2021 in response to community concerns regarding pedestrian safety. Pedestrian crossings across Route 100, Waitsfield’s Main Street, were identified by community members as particularly troublesome given lack of pedestrian visibility, vehicle speeds and a lack of a walking culture. “Given that the state owns this portion of the road, coordination with VTrans was a critical step toward making improvements,” said MRVPD community planner Kati Gallagher.
VTrans created a dedicated team to work with town and MRVPD staff to identify challenges and potential short- and long-term solutions.
Local Motion, a Burlington-based nonprofit, provides technical assistance, project design and pop-up demonstration projects to support communities seeking to improve walk and bike-ability.
“Following a presentation to the Mad River Valley Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) in December 2020, an in-street crosswalk signage demonstration was identified as the most impactful low-cost, short-term action to promote pedestrian safety in Waitsfield. Local Motion is loaning the town three signs to be placed in the middle of Waitsfield’s existing Route 100 crosswalks, including a specific school crossing sign,” Gallagher explained.
She noted that, as part of this pilot project, VTrans has granted Waitsfield the ability to leave the signs out overnight. Typically, in-street crosswalk signs are required to be bolted to the street in order to avoid being displaced by vehicles, though this presents a barrier to small towns without the resources to manage the signs daily. The outcome of Waitsfield’s pilot project will serve to inform other communities seeking to utilize in-street signs.