The view below, of a combination pole plus traffic control box near my home in Ferguson, North St. Louis County, illustrates vividly how sometimes traffic engineers forget about pedestrian traffic. Couldn’t this control box have been sited on a pole to be completely out of the way of pedestrians? It certainly appears so, given the multiplicity of poles at this intersection.
My wife relies on walking for her exercise, while I prefer bike commuting, but recently I’ve been accompanying her on her preferred 1.4 mile route around Ferguson, which ends up with a short stretch along Florissant Rd. before returning to our subdivision. Florissant Rd. is a 4-lane major arterial, running north-south through Ferguson and this section is a MoDOT-maintained road with a 35 mph speed limit.
In the past, MoDOT was not allowed to provide sidewalks for pedestrians so to get around that they created what they called “raised shoulders” which were ostensibly for emergency parking. This was MoDOT’s way of providing for pedestrian travel while still abiding by the letter of the law.
The fact that it’s a mountable curb already creates problems, because it invites motorist parking, which blocks pedestrian traffic. However, that’s another issue. This MoDOT traffic control box, while it’s been rotated on the pole to allow more room on the sidewalk, still represents a significant obstruction for walkers. Note that even the pole location doesn’t show much consideration for pedestrian traffic: it’s almost in the middle of the sidewalk.
The control box is located on the east side of Florissant Rd. near its intersection with Albert-Powell Avenues which run west-to-east, as shown in the plan view immediately below. That is followed by a motorist’s eye view looking north along Florissant Rd. (Please click repeatedly to enlarge images.)
I first considered a pole almost directly opposite on Florissant Rd. on which the control box would have been completely out of the way of pedestrians. This is illustrated in the first two photos below.
On a subsequent visit I noticed a pole on the same side of Florissant Rd. as the existing control box but a little closer to the corner which also appears to be a candidate. This is shown in the view below, looking towards Florissant Rd. from Powell Ave.
Actually, only 0.2 miles north is the far busier intersection of Florissant Rd. and Frost Ave. with a similar control box on the east side of the road, but here the treatment is completely different and definitely pedestrian-friendly. The two locations are shown at A and B respectively on the map immediately below, followed by a view of the control box taken from Google view.
If we want to make cities and towns more pedestrian-friendly these details need much more attention. Correcting the problem afterwards is expensive and not always possible. Doing it right the first time is always preferable.