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In-Street Pedestrian Crossing Signs
There are many of these devices on Maine roads. Some are on state roads and others are on local roads. This is the MaineDOT’s position and policy regarding the use of in-street devices to alert motorists to the potential presence of pedestrians in marked crosswalks. These devices are specifically for unsignalized pedestrian crossings where there is a marked crosswalk. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is the official guide for the installation and use of traffic control devices on all Maine highways. The latest version of this document was published in December, 2003 and it addresses the use of in-street devices at crosswalks in Sections 2B-12 and 7B-09.
The MaineDOT does not support an independent development of another standard or the use of “nonstandard” devices sold by vendors. As a practical matter, if you have any one of a variety of these devices now in your town/city, then it is recommended to replace these devices with this new standard as they deteriorate over time.
Consideration should be given to the overall width of the street, the existence of parking, and ability of the motorists to recognize that a crosswalk exists…. .and potential liability. In addition, does the device create a sense of false security to pedestrians who “feel” more protection from one of these devices and proceed with less caution across the crosswalk? Also, it’s important to understand that if the State is restriping the centerline near these devices, the striping truck will probably turn off the paint guns, drive around this device and resume striping on the other side, especially it they are bolted into the pavement.
If a device is placed in the road, it must not encumber the movement of vehicles along the street. That is, it should be a flexible vertical panel which does not encroach into the normal travel lane. It should also not be placed directly in the crosswalk to hinder pedestrians. The message/device must be reflectorized if it is to be left in place during night time hours and it must not have metal signs or heavy weighting devices such as concrete blocks or sandbags. It must use the word “YIELD” and not “STOP” to be consistent with Maine law.
MaineDOT recognizes that pedestrian concerns are an important issue to many communities throughout the State. The Department has also accepted the fact that the use of these in-street devices has apparently had a positive effect on driver behavior and awareness of pedestrian needs. Although State law (23 § 1351) states that "all traffic control devices, erected by towns, on state and state aid highways shall be subject to approval of the Department”, we have not prohibited their use in those locations which have been determined by local agencies to meet the criteria for installation.
It's also very important to realize that municipalities are subject to the so- called "highway defect law" (23§ 3651-3655) and these devices may create some liability issues if injury or property damage results due to the presence of these devices. Also, it’s important to realize that if you ultimately decide to allow the first device on a road, many more requests will follow. Does the Town have good justification for allowing some, but not others, and does it have $200+ to pay for each device?
This page last updated on 1/9/13
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