Crossing Broadway Street on foot is often a dangerous proposition and a particular stretch of the six-lane thoroughfare north of downtown has seen increased pedestrian traffic brought by the popular DoSeum, San Antonio’s new children’s museum.
City officials and construction personnel, gathered across Broadway Street from the DoSeum at Lions Field on Tuesday to celebrate the completion of the “Z-crossing,” a new type of crosswalk that provides refuge for pedestrians between busy traffic lanes.
The new Z-crossing aims to improve the safety of visitors and families traveling between the area’s cultural and recreational destinations. The crosswalk features brightly painted signs and blinking lights to signify pedestrian’s right-of-way. The crossing gets its name from the “Z” shape of the path that, instead of guiding pedestrians straight across the street, directs them to pause after three traffic lanes, walk parallel to traffic several feet, and then cross the remaining three.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday morning, however, many drivers continued to ignore the blinking yield-to-pedestrian lights and 25 mph speed limits as they rushed down Broadway.
“As you can see, people are speeding past us right now, and that’s not necessarily what we want,” said Councilman Alan Warrick (D2).”We’re looking to have pedestrian guards over the coming weeks, just in time for spring break to ensure safe passage, as people adjust to the new crossing.”
The Z-crossing at Broadway is the first of three crosswalks that will be funded by the City and built by the D &G Energy Corporation this year. Additional crossings at Culebra Road and Commerce Street near Apache Park will be completed by late spring. Officials said that the crosswalks, which cost $375,000 total, “were pricy, but worth it.”
“How do we let people know that this is a safe place to cross? Through a combination of engineering and architecture,” said Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1), adding that improved signage will help boost public safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Treviño and Warrick share district boundaries that include the Broadway corridor.
For years, San Antonio has struggled with public road safety, but the City’s Vision Zero initiative adopted in late 2015 includes plans to educate pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists on the importance of traveling safely. The Z-crossings will build on the Vision Zero initiative, but city officials say that improved signage, PSAs, newsletters and continued outreach will help improve public safety in San Antonio.
“It’s going to take some time, but we hope that people will get the message,” said Councilman Treviño.
*Top image: DoSeum Executive Assistant Michael Garcia crosses the newly constructed z-crossing. Photo by Scott Ball.