5 Ways to Create Safe And Walkable Communities with Signs

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A safe and walkable community expands transportation options, encourages bicyclist and pedestrian activity and also serves people of all mobility ranges.┬áSigns serve the purpose of letting people know what to expect – they are the most basic and import forms of communication. This improves the likelihood that a person will react properly and behave according to plan. Community communication can range from dynamic LED traffic signs to highly visible school signs.

1. Use railroad and/or public transportation access signs.
Use these signs wherever there is access to public transportation or rail transport. The railroad sign may consist of crossbars that close off walking access when trains move by. Make certain there is a warning sign stating not to walk on railroad tracks. Prepare motorists about upcoming railroad crossings by placing notification signs that include symbols for railroad tracks. Read your zoning laws for proper placement requirements.

For public transportation venues, make certain signs specify operating hours. Having signs with both verbiage and symbols will help readers of all nationalities. For instance, for a bus terminal, have a symbol that represents a bus.

2. Use school crossing signs.
School crossing signs are crucial in creating safe and walkable communities that involve educational facilities. Depending upon one’s vicinity, the signs may designate school hours, speed limits and pedestrian crossing lanes. These signs encourage pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists to yield to school children entering the area. Make certain the signs are easy to read, are placed in a clearly visible place, and comply with zoning ordinance laws.

3. Make intersections safe.
Intersections can be one of the most troublesome of areas for motorists and walkers. Most fatalities occur at intersections due to the complexities of traffic patterns and signage. Place a red stop sign at each street intersection corner. Improve the safety level by implementing some pedestrian signals like signs with drawings of walking individuals. To assist the visually-impaired, consider implementing a beeping alarm to inform walkers it is safe to cross the street.

If a round-about exists as an intersection, use signs that signal the proper directions riders need to take to improve traffic flow effectively and reduce accident risks. Designate bicycle crossings by placing a yellow sign with a bicycle symbol near the crossing.

4. Make streets safe and user-friendly.
Make sure streets are easy to navigate. If the street has any abnormalities, like a speed bump or road hazard, place a sign nearby to warn motorists and individuals. Speed bump signs can be the word “BUMP” on a yellow rectangular sign. Road hazard signs like deer crossings could be a deer drawing on yellow rectangular-shaped metal. Put a red stop sign on each street corner so walkers stop before crossing the street. Use traffic signals in populated areas to create traffic flow gaps, making it easier for pedestrians to cross the street safely.

5. Designate special areas.
Safe and walkable communities need to consider the elderly and mobility impaired. Put up signs that signify pedestrian walking, with traffic lights near by so motorists can stop when needed. Designate the crosswalk on the street surface, so walkers know exactly where to cross. A yellow sign with “pedestrian crossway” will notify everyone of possible pedestrians.

Make certain to check all signs to be sure they provide adequate reflectivity during nighttime hours. Signs need to be placed and used intelligently to assure respect and compliance from everyone.


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Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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