The Zionsville Town Council has approved funds for a crosswalk across the northern leg of the intersection at County Road 975 E. and Oak Ridge Drive as part of the town’s plan to evaluate where other crosswalks might be needed.
During a Nov. 15 meeting, the council approved an additional appropriation of $9,000 to fund installation of the mid-block crosswalk.
Zionsville Dept. of Public Works Director Lance Lantz said a mid-block crosswalk is “a location marked for pedestrians to cross where traffic is not required to stop due to existing traffic control devices.”
Lantz told the council Indiana law states a vehicle has the right-of-way when pedestrians wait at a crosswalk, and the location met all local evaluation criteria. He added that the community will benefit from a crosswalk based on his department’s findings.
“It’s been a specific point of interest for people in my district, so much so that the mayor and I discussed it in September in our 1-on-1,” Zionsville Town Council Vice President Jason Plunkett said of the crosswalk.
To avoid subjectivity in deciding whether to recommend the crosswalk be installed or future crosswalks be installed at other locations, Lantz and his team established a three-tiered approach to evaluate locations.
The approach includes a high-level initial screening based on physical conditions, data collection and a location evaluation with examination of alternatives.
High-level initial screening involves seven criteria. If a location meets four of the seven criteria, it advances in consideration. The criteria includes whether a location has supporting infrastructure in place or readily provided; separation and distance from other crosswalks; is in a school zone; is within a quarter mile of public amenities; has pathway network connectivity; has a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less; or crosses only two through-traffic vehicle lanes.
The second tier requires town officials to determine how much the location is used during peak hours, including pedestrian counts taken to determine how many people cross. Children are tallied twice in the count.
The third tier incorporates a professional evaluation of the location to consider alternatives, such as crossing guard options, relationships to schools and school zones and pedestrian network connectivity, among other considerations.
Staff findings are vetted by the mayor’s ad-hoc committee. A design specific to the location would be produced and recommended to the town council, and any necessary additional funding for special equipment could be requested. Budgeted items, such as sidewalks, are already within town budgets, according to Lantz. He said the town plans to review two new locations per year based on initial scoring and subsequent submissions.
Zionsville Town Council President Josh Garrett thanked Lantz for creating the approach.
“My fear with these has always been when one of these comes in front of us, next meeting there will be a hundred,” Garrett said of crosswalks. “So, I appreciate the process of quantifying what they are and saying how many we are doing and scoring them before they get here so (that) we aren’t just subjectively saying (yes or no) and having data behind it.”