Daylighting: Make Your Crosswalks Safer
Daylighting is a simple pedestrian safety measure achieved by removing parking spaces adjacent to curbs around an intersection, increasing visibility for pedestrians and drivers and minimizing conflicts. It's beneficial to young and old, but is especially helpful to children, who often cannot see, or be seen by, oncoming traffic. By removing parking adjacent to the crosswalk, the child does not have to wade into the street to see vehicles entering the intersection. At the same time, drivers don't have to roll into the crosswalk to see if pedestrians are waiting to cross.
Compare the photos below, showing the sight line difference with and without a parked car.
Neighborhoods around NYC and beyond are nearly shouting for daylighting to be implemented for safer streets. Streetfilms went to Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan to check out what some neighborhood leaders have to say. And though we love the concept, we think the term, Daylighting, is a little stale. So how about some suggestions? As you'll see, we came up with one, "Pedestrian Peek-a-boo," but we're sure there are others out there.
Learn about daylighting on Streetswiki.
Clarence Eckerson Jr.:
At Streetfilms it’s been our mission to explain the mundane and the
difficult to grasp traffic concepts and make them more accessible to
the general public. So for a while there’s been one term that’s
been nagging at us, one that we’ve been wanting to tackle for quite
some time. It’s a simple pedestrian safety strategy and it’s
Teresa Toro: Daylighting
is a term that describes removing kerbside parking from the area of
sidewalk closest to an intersection so that visibility is improved [00:30]
at the intersection for motorists and pedestrians and cyclists alike.
Shin-Pei Tsay: The problem
is often that there’s parking available all the way up to the crosswalk,
and as a pedestrian you often can’t see around the parked cars for
approaching traffic. This truck here is preventing people from
being able to see the crosswalk as they stand at the corner, and it
also actually prevents drivers from being able to see pedestrians as
they’re waiting to cross.
Clarence Eckerson Jr.:
So right now I’m standing at an intersection where daylighting is
in effect, the pedestrian crosswalk is there [01:00] and right before
it we have a space where cars cannot park. This is daylighting.
Speaker: If everybody
can see each other better that’s, I think, a very critical step towards
making an intersection safer.
Speaker: Last May I was
walking my five year old son to school, right along here, and an SUV
came out of 52nd Street and slowed but never came to a full
stop, and the girl ran into the crosswalk and got hit.
Angus B. Grieve-Smith:
Cars don’t stop at the stop sign, they’ll just coast right through.
It’s what a [01:30] friend of mine calls a stoptional sign.
Speaker: On September 19th,
which was Parking Day, we occupied this last parking space and used
it to raise awareness. Over 200 people signed a petition in support
of our plan.
Bill Gratzer: I am a
driver and even with the possibility of losing a few parking spots,
I support the idea of daylighting because I think that personal inconvenience
should take a [02:00] backseat to general public safety.
Shin-Pei Tsay: It’s
actually one of the cheapest and cost-effective ways of providing greater
safety for pedestrians. You just need to change the policy at
the intersection and just say, you know, no parking for this amount
Shin-Pei Tsay: Once you
actually daylight an intersection there is this little extra space at
the intersection for a host of amenities. Some things that we
often say that our busy sidewalks can’t handle are benches or more
bike parking or [02:30] planting, you know, trees, greening the space.
Those are things that invite people to walk. And bike parking
is actually much lower than parked cars. So as a pedestrian you’re
able to look at the intersection, even with bike parking. It’s
also then an opportunity to extend the kerb and narrow the intersection
so that people have an easier time crossing the street.
Shirley Secunda: The
Department of Transportation has actually taken it upon themselves to
daylight some of these [03:00] corners on Washington Street. We
feel there’s a great opportunity to put bicycle parking here and we
have asked for specific spots, including this very spot.
Clarence Eckerson Jr.:
So we hope you learned something today about daylighting, and we hope
this is a tool that people of the United States and around the world
are able to use to advocate for daylighting in their community.
Now we’re not fond of that term and I’m sure a lot of you out there
aren’t either, so today we’re taking nominations, what would you
rather see this term called instead of daylighting? [03:30] My
personal nomination would be Pedestrian Peek-A-Boo, and the reason I
say that is because when you see people standing on the corner in the
before and after photo zooms, before you can’t see them, you take
away the car afterwards, peek-a-boo, there’s the people. So
let’s hear what you’ve got to say and thanks for watching Streetfilms.