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South Valley Journal

Crossing Flags Increase Safety in Riverton

May 05, 2016 03:45PM ● By Briana Kelley

By Briana Kelley | [email protected]

South Valley - On March 14, Riverton City introduced crossing flags at 12600 South and 2700 West. The bright orange flags were added to improve pedestrian safety at an intersection that connects  residents to local businesses, as well as three public schools—Riverton High School to the north, and Southland Elementary and Oquirrh Hills Middle School to the south, according the city’s press release. 

“I live nearby this intersection and have watched the amount of traffic as well as the number of crossing pedestrians increase over the years. After researching ways that we could improve our growing needs for safety, this type of program really stood out,” Councilmember Paul Wayman said. “ I think it’s neat because it’s one more thing that says this is an intersection where pedestrians cross and so you need to be aware. All in all it’s been very positive that I can see.”

Wayman worked with Chief of Police Rosie Rivera and others to find cost-effective ways to increase safety at the intersection. The idea for flags stood out after seeing the success in downtown Salt Lake City area and other places. Proponents believe that the flags provide added safety for pedestrians and have an excellent public education proponent.

“We tried to come up with a way that it would be safer for students and others to cross. When you have an orange flag in your hand, and you hold it in the direction you are going, people know you are going to walk off the curb and go across the road. Someone making a right hand turn who sees a pedestrian without a flag at the corner does not know if they are going to cross and at times that’s a problem,” Wayman said.

The city council unanimously approved the idea, after which a crew from the city’s public works department installed the flag holders and flags. The flags will be overseen by Wayman. The intersection currently includes a pedestrian bridge and a crossing guard for elementary school students, but many still cross the road throughout the day.

“Any time that you can increase the visibility of a pedestrian I think is a good thing, because we don’t want anybody to get hurt. I have children that go and have gone to those schools and so I appreciate the fact that flags are there so they can cross safely and so drivers can see them,” Amy Kelley, a Riverton resident, said.

The way to use the flags is simple. An individual or group can pick up a flag from the holder before crossing and then deposit it into the holder on the other side.

“It’s really helpful because you as a driver can better see an individual and you can see that somebody needs to cross the road. I think an important place to watch is the rest of the crosswalks on 2700 West as they come south, across from the fire station. When there are no crossing guards there, it’s harder to see pedestrians. One side of cars will stop and wait because they can see there is a child waiting but then the other flow of traffic does not pay attention...The flags help to make them visible,” Kelley added.

Wayman and the city will continue to monitor the new flags to gauge their impact on pedestrian safety. “Our goal is to continually improve City services and safety. This idea provides added safety at minimal cost to the city. As the use of these flags continues to be monitored along with the impact they have on overall safety, implementation in other areas of the city will be considered,” Mayor Bill Applegarth stated