FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - After a man was hit by a car when he was walking across Lafayette Street Wednesday morning, NewsChannel 15 started asking if the intersection is considered dangerous.
According to the Northeastern Indiana Regional Coordinating Council, it's not. The NIRCC, a semi-federal agency that works with regional transportation planning, compiles crash data from all police agencies. Last year, the intersection had a crash rating of 1.8. That is the number of crashes per one million vehicles that entered the intersection. National standards say an intersection with a crash rating of two or more is considered hazardous, Jerry Foust, senior transportation planner at NIRCC, said.
When NewsChannel 15 observed how many people were crossing the street against the crosswalk signals, we wondered what it takes to get a pedestrian overpass built. Bishop Luers High School is on one corner of the intersection and Towles Intermediate School is a block down Paulding in the other direction. Many children were seen crossing Lafayette Street without waiting for the pedestrian signals to give them the right-of-way.
While Lafayette Street, which is also U.S. 27, is managed by the Indiana Department of Transportation, an INDOT spokeswoman said another entity would need to make the move to build an overpass.
"Generally when you see a pedestrian bridge over a highway, it was driven by someone else like a city or a town or a school or business," Mary Foster, spokeswoman for INDOT, said.
Foster used the example of the proposed walkway over Coliseum Boulevard near IPFW and Ivy Tech. The schools are funding and building the overpass and INDOT would just be issuing permits allowing it to be built.
But, Foster said if someone asked INDOT to investigate the need for an overpass at an intersection, the agency would look into it.
"If someone requested we look at it we would. Our engineers would go out and look at everything and pull up crash history. We would see if signals, traffic controls and pedestrian controls are adequate," Foster said.
Police also remind everyone that while it may seem like common sense, obey walk signals when they are at an intersection.
"It's life or death. You either cross safely or risk the chance of serious injury if not death," Michael Joyner, the public information officer for the Fort Wayne Police Department, said. "You want to believe that everyone will obey laws, but we know differently don't we."
A person crossing the street against the walk signal can be cited for jaywalking, but Joyner said that ticket is not written very often.
Measures like walk signals, painted crosswalks, flashing lights and signals are all steps to control pedestrian traffic that would be looked at before an overpass would be an option.
The intersection of Lafayette and Paulding does have walk signals. The signals for crossing Lafayette Street give seven seconds of the walk sign and 29 seconds of a flashing red hand with the seconds counting down.
Foster said Wednesday the flashing time at crosswalk signals, also called the pedestrian clear time, is calculated by using the pace of 3.5 feet per second. So, if a person walked into the intersection right when the signal started to count down, they should be able to clear the intersection going at a normal pace. The national standard for traffic controls is using 3.5 feet per second.
Using that formula, the intersection should be 101.5 feet across if the signal gives a 29-second countdown. But, when NewsChannel 15 measured the intersection Thursday, the measurement wheel showed 197 feet. Using the pace of 3.5 feet per second, it would take 56 seconds to clear the intersection, not 29.
When NewsChannel 15 told Foster about the findings, she said she'd tell the traffic engineer right away. Within ten minutes, Foster called NewsChannel 15 back saying the engineer confirmed our measurement using Google Earth and they contacted the traffic systems engineer to look at the intersection.
The 197-foot measurement was taken crossing Lafayette Street on the north side going from sidewalk edge to sidewalk edge. The north side cross walk includes the access street Avondale Road. The south side distance across Lafayette Street is shorter because it does not include Avondale Road. But, the distance across Lafayette Street not counting Avondale Road was 165 feet. Using the same formula, that distance would need 47 second of pedestrian clear time, which is still more than the current 29 seconds.
Foster didn't know when the engineer would take another look at the signal timing or if the timing would be changed. NewsChannel 15 will continue to follow this story.
Police said in Wednesday's crash, it's not clear when the man started to cross the street or if he noticed the traffic light had turned green when he walked into the path of an oncoming car. Thursday police said no charges will likely be filed, calling the crash a tragic accident.
The suspects face bank robbing charges, as well as charges of assaulting and putting in jeopardy the lives of others.
The yellow brick building that served for decades as the club house for the Elks Lodge 155 golf course in Fort Wayne is being demolished.
Buffalo Wild Wings donated $6,500 to the Boys & Girls Club's Fairfield location on Friday afternoon. The money will be used for youth sports tournaments.
A new event promises 12 days of delicious deals at Fort Wayne restaurants in January.
A woman arrested for shoplifting at a Fort Wayne Walmart identified herself as her husband's ex-wife when she was actually the man's current wife. The ex-wife then ended up getting arrested when the real wife failed to show up for court.
Gov. Mike Pence has ordered flags at Indiana state facilities to be flown at half-staff in tribute of Nelson Mandela and is asking businesses and residents to do so also to honor the world leader.
A big chunk of the U.S. is getting a blast of wintry weather. Some areas are experiencing frigid temperatures. Some are seeing snow and ice. Several deaths have been reported, most resulting from treacherous driving conditions. Hundreds of…
Frigid temperatures and a cold Saint Joseph River didn't stop approximately 100 students from jumping into the river as part of Homecoming Week at IPFW.
The Salvation Army and Toys for Tots are seeing a decline in donations this year because of a late Thanksgiving.
Global civil rights icon Nelson Mandela, whose legacy is ending South African apartheid, has died.
Fort Wayne is not expected to take the brunt of an approaching winter weather system, but everyone will experience frigid temperatures and some could see sleet and snow.
Thieves hit an Indianapolis home this week, stealing a large nativity scene from the front yard.
The Veteran Beer Company, a company employing solely veterans, is bringing its craft beers to Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne officials are attributing the rise in violent crime to gangs. NewsChannel 15 spoke with a former LAPD officer about the Summit City's crime problem.
Employees at some Indianapolis fast food restaurants took part in a 100-city strike Thursday morning.