Submitted by DAVIDE DEVIETTI-GOGGIA
The Renaissance Garage on the Northeastern University Campus has a “blind garage exit” exiting into the sidewalk (Columbus Ave) where pedestrians are bikers are frequently present. This can be dangerous because an exiting car does not see crossing pedestrians and bicycles. The person who is leaving the parking garage may also not remember to yield or stop at the exit, and may potentially strike a pedestrian or bicycle. In order to prevent this from happening, a flashing sign was installed that flashes the words “Caution Car Exiting” with an acoustic signal (beeping noise) when a car pulls up to the speed bump right before the exit. The sign is located after the crossing, which may make it difficult to notice in time, especially for bikers. An additional step that was taken to ensure the safety of the crossing was to have a crossing guard there at all times to coordinate pedestrian and bicycle flow with the exiting vehicles. This, together with the audible and visual alarm system makes the system very effective. The exiting car also has a stop sign located right before the speed bump, which tells the driver to stop before exiting. This effectively slows down cars before they accelerate again to exit. In order to improve the safety of the crossing, it is recommended to install a new more visible sign before the crosswalk to warn pedestrians of danger before they actually enter the crosswalk. Additionally, a sign warning motorists of the pedestrian crossing should be installed right under the stop sign.
(See video below.)
The Bank of America and Trader Joe in Brookline, MA have an alley that allows motorists to exit onto Beacon Street after using the Bank of America ATM in the alley. There is a safety concern here because of the blind driveway exit into the crosswalk. This is a very popular area (Coolidge Corner) which attracts many pedestrians on the sidewalk along the Trader Joe and Bank of America. There are many mothers pushing strollers through this blind driveway, and it is of utmost importance to make sure it is safe. In order to make this driveway safer, an audible alarm has been installed to warn pedestrians of exiting vehicles. The sound is not a beeping sound, but more of a buzzing alarm. There is a stop sign telling exiting vehicles to stop; however, there is no sign to warn of oncoming pedestrians or bicyclists. There is also no speed bump installed. There is no visual aid for pedestrians to know what is happening, and the audio aid does not help because it is not clear what it means. There is no crossing guard at this crossing. The current system is better than nothing; however, it is far from being a complete system. It is recommended to add a sign warning of pedestrians below the stop sign. A speed bump may be installed to discourage speeding after using the ATM. Also, a visual aid sign could be installed to warn pedestrians of oncoming vehicles (like the one at the Renaissance Garage). Additionally, the loud buzzing noise is not clear in what it is referring to. It would be much more helpful if there was a voice that said “Caution, approaching vehicle.”, instead of a generic buzzing sound. These recommendations will make the blind driveway exit safer to cross. (See video below.)