New pedestrian island to offer safe crossing at Western Drive

Image of pedestrian islandThe elimination of a marked crosswalk from the southeast side of Shriver Center across Patterson Avenue (U.S. 27) to Western Drive did not stop students and others from crossing that busy stretch of road.

This year about 2,800 daily crossings were occurring – illegally – at that spot despite no crosswalk designation. “Students were seen stopping in the middle of the street waiting for cars to stop in order to walk across,” said John Seibert, Miami’s director of planning, architecture and engineering.

Miami’s physical facilities department, with results from a transportation study, took ideas to the campus planning committee and city and parking-transportation committees to improve the safety of pedestrians at that location.

The result is a soon-to-be built crossing with a pedestrian island the width of the center traffic lane and lights that flash when someone is preparing to enter the intersection. This will eliminate what is currently a left-turn lane for southbound cars.

During construction, which began May 15, and after the island is in place, southbound cars will enter Western Drive at its south end, near Miami’s art museum. Western Drive will have two-way traffic for its full length. UPDATE: as of May 26, the southbound entrance to the north end of Western Drive is disallowed and Western Drive has two-way traffic.

With the package center opening at Shriver Center in the fall, pedestrian traffic in that area is expected to increase.

Other pedestrian- and vehicle-safety enhancements are scheduled this summer, including a raised intersection at Maple and Spring streets. Much of the work follows data gathered by a traffic study done by Baker & Associates, transportation engineers.