Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. I live up Cordova Street go through the Cordova Street & Douglas Highway intersection 4x daily. Sometimes the embedded crosswalk lights work and sometimes they don't. They get covered with ice or snow. I see cars coming from Douglas that have come to a stop and are waiting on a left turn. They are waiting for traffic or a pedestrian to cross. It is appalling to see the number of motorists that will drive around a stopped vehicle (fast sometimes)! Those motorists sometimes cannot see a small child already in the crosswalk. Children cross that highway daily and I shudder at the thought, especially with dark winter nights upon us. Can't something be posted so that cars must stay in queue and not skirt around stopped vehicles? Can something be done? P.S. Thank you for this site...it is awesome and I enjoy the Dispatchers' wit!
Dear Juneau Resident,
A Juneau driver once went around a marked patrol car stopped at a crosswalk in front of an elementary school, yielding to a child. The child, waved across the road by the officer, was nearly hit. If there ever would have been a justifiable excuse to pull a driver out of a car through a wing window, that was it, but that is against JPD policy so no go. And, cars don’t have wing windows anymore.
It is absolutely irresponsible to drive around a car stopped at a crosswalk. It is also illegal. The fine is $100 for violating the ordinance listed at the end of this question. I haven’t heard of a sign speaking to the specifics you note and the sign would probably be too long if it did. Signs usually have pretty simple messages, like “Watch for Pedestrians” or that stick figure that says the same thing. I believe there are signs like that up in that area.
The sad fact is that a driver who won’t look for kids probably won’t look for a sign about kids. That driver is more likely to be on a cell phone while loading eight new CDs in the stereo, and eating a Costco dog.
I am glad you brought up the issue in a public forum so maybe we can raise awareness. During peak hours, it would be an excellent idea to add volunteer crossing guards. They seem to be the best tool to get the attention of drivers and protect pedestrians. I’ll also send this question and answer to patrol with a request for extra patrol. At Chief Browning’s suggestion this question is also being forwarded to DOT to see if a pedestrian operated stop light, the overhead kind, is a possibility. There is a nice lady over there named Carolyn who has been working hard on the Floyd Dryden crossing.
72.02.155 Pedestrian right-of-way in safety zones.
(a) Except as provided in 13 AAC 02.195, when traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is on a sidewalk, vehicular way or area, or who is crossing a roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
(b) No pedestrian may leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
(c) When a vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, no driver of another vehicle approaching from the rear may overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
(d) Pedestrians shall move, whenever practicable, upon the right half of the crosswalk.
(e) No vehicle may be driven through or within a safety zone.
(CBJ Code 1970, § 72.02.155; Serial No. 71-66, § 4, 1971)
State law references: Similar provisions, 13 AAC 02.155; pedestrian right-of-way with commercial vehicles in safety zones, 13 AAC 03.155; definition of "safety zone," 13 AAC 40.010(a)(45).