Are West Hollywood crosswalks safer today?
The City and community members took several steps to increase pedestrian safety in West Hollywood crosswalks, after deaths in 2013 and 2014. Starting in October 2014, the City launched a public information campaign, enforcement efforts, and safety messages on variable message boards. By January 2015, in-street signs and reflective pavement markers had been installed at 10 crosswalks. The City also began planning for traffic signals at five crosswalks.
Given those efforts, are West Hollywood crosswalks safer today? The City staff counted the number of collisions involving pedestrians crossing the street, before and after the changes. The before counts were 53 in 2013 and 36 in 2014. The after counts were 26 in 2015 and 12 in the first four-and-a-half months of 2016.
For ease of comparison, we converted the City’s counts to monthly averages. Before the changes, there were 4.4 collisions per month in 2013 and 3.0 in 2014. After the changes, there were fewer collisions: 2.2 per month in 2015 and 2.7 per month for the beginning of 2016.
Reduction in collision rates in West Hollywood crosswalks
We calculated the change from before the safety measures to after. We combined 2013 and 2014 into “before” and 2015 and early 2016 into “after.” The number of collisions per month dropped 38%. The reduction was statistically significant.
The chart below shows the reductions at different kinds of crossings.
Effectiveness of in-street signs
The biggest percentage reduction in collisions was at mid-block crosswalks with the new in-street signs. Collisions dropped 76%, which was statistically significant. Those crosswalks had 13% of the collisions before the signs were installed and only 5% afterward.
We wondered if other communities had also found in-street signs to be effective. The chart below is one example, from a government-funded academic study. It shows the yield rate — the percentage of drivers who stopped for pedestrians — for crosswalks with various safety measures.
The most effective measures (in the upper left corner) were traffic signals. In-street signs came next (we circled them in red). Drivers were less likely to yield in crosswalks with the other measures, such as flashing beacons and signs that weren’t in the street.