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Crosswalks & Street Lighting – Safety in Numbers

A New England Town Examines Street Light Placement and
Pedestrian Safety, Visibility at Non-Intersection Crosswalks

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LEDG recently worked with a New Hampshire town who had a mounting concern regarding the safety and visibility for pedestrians crossing the street at non-intersection (midblock) crosswalks. The objective of the Streetscape Decorative Lighting Assessment was to examine the current decorative street lighting, specifically at pedestrian crosswalks, to determine the adequacy and safety of the lighting in comparison with the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) recom-mended guidelines/safe practices for street lighting.

A total of five crosswalks were examined. The initial and most important process for evaluating the performance of a lighting system is data collection. For this assessment, the process was imperative due to insufficient documentation of the existing street lighting design. The on-site assessment performed by LEDG began with the first crosswalk as a project base point and every street light, cross- walk, and intersecting roadway location and measurement documented.

Street lighting at non-intersection crosswalks

Street lighting at non-intersection crosswalks

Low Visibility for Drivers Is a Challenge

Low Visibility for Drivers Is a Challenge

The assessment uncovered that the existing street light design and layout did not align with the crosswalk locations and were a contributing factor to low pedestrian visibility. The lighting was placed in the opposite recommended location and was making the pedestrian even less visible. The crosswalk lighting should precede the crosswalk in the direction of traffic flow, allowing the pedestrian to contrast with the background and illuminate on the side of their body facing an oncoming driver.

LEDG’s Streetscape Decorative Lighting Assessment determined which changes should be made by the town for the relocation of existing street lights or the addition of supplemental lighting fixtures for proper and safe illumination of pedestrians at all crosswalks. The town used this important assessment to secure estimated budge approval and enter into a proposal process to hire an organization to make the recommended changes set forth by LEDG.

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