Faded stripes add to risk

Watchdog

Convention center hotel means more foot traffic at Pratt, Eutaw, but a vanishing crosswalk requires pedestrians to step lively

November 23, 2008|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,liz.kay@baltsun.com

The problem : A downtown crosswalk is poorly marked, leaving pedestrians at risk.

The backstory : Ben Nuckols is too chicken to cross the road - at least, Pratt Street at Eutaw Street.

The painted crosswalk stripes are extremely faded and sometimes completely missing, particularly on the east side of the intersection.

Nuckols said that's a problem for impatient drivers lined up to turn left from southbound Eutaw onto Pratt, in front of the new convention center hotel.

Most "don't realize it's a crosswalk, and they've generally been waiting a while to turn left and it's a pretty short light," Nuckols said.

There wasn't much pedestrian traffic before the hotel opened this year, but last month he saw a car hit a woman wheeling a suitcase.

He wondered whether the east-side crosswalk could be more clearly marked or if it should removed altogether, since walkers could cross on the west side of the intersection without dodging traffic.

"Anything would be an improvement," Nuckols said about the intersection.

When city transportation officials went out to inspect the crosswalk, "they did agree that the crosswalk needed to be redone," department spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes said.

However, they put off having the work done for two weeks because of yesterday's Thanksgiving parade.

Officials also plan to investigate whether other changes, such as the timing of traffic signals, are necessary, given the added pedestrian traffic prompted by the hotel. "It might be just a small modification, but we do want to make sure we take a look at that intersection," she said.

Who can fix this : Randall Scott, chief of the traffic division, Baltimore Department of Transportation. 443-984-2150. City residents can also call 311 to report problems.

update

Baltimore transportation spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes said handrails have been installed in any remaining gaps on the Fort Avenue bridge that leads to Fort McHenry, a problem Watchdog first reported in August. The order of 3-inch-diameter tubing needed to replace the missing sections arrived last week and a crew has installed them, she said.

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