Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, February 3, 2019 ACHD's Road Wizard

Long pedestrian wait at HAWK crossing on River Street along the Pioneer Pathway explained; bumpy manhole covers at Overland Road at Topaz Way and Jade Avenue; ACHD makes another evaluation of a stop sign on Quail Ridge at Collister Drive

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: The pedestrian crossing across River Street along the Pioneer Pathway takes a really long time to change. After waiting for several minutes, either a motorist takes pity on the poor pedestrian and stops to let them cross, or the pedestrians and cyclists make a dash for it during a gap in traffic. No other pedestrian crossing that I use takes this long to change. Why is this one set to such a long delay? Would it be possible to make the light a little faster?


Road Wizard:

The majority of pedestrian signals in Ada County give those on foot a walk signal nearly on demand, but the River Street "HAWK" crossing is not one of them. Some measure of traffic signal coordination is something drivers have come to expect, but pedestrian signals sometimes need to join the signal-synching strategy.

The River Street crossing is coordinated with nearby traffic signals so they can work together to keep motor vehicle traffic flowing, but still provide pedestrians with reasonable service through a safe length of time to cross. Pedestrians will only get the "walk" signal when it fits in with the progression of traffic along River Street. Sometimes fewer motor vehicles will be approaching, and it may appear that there is still enough time to run the crosswalk signal. But it may be too late in the signal cycle to provide the required pedestrian crossing time and still maintain signal synchronization.

Depending on when a person presses the walk button, the wait at River Street could range from a couple of seconds up to a maximum of 70 seconds, though that is pretty unusual. So far only about 10 pedestrian signals in Ada County operate in some form of coordination at some point during the day.

Dear Road Wizard: Can you request the district look at the manhole covers on Overland Road at Topaz Way and Overland Road at Jade Avenue? These two are very bumpy and not from differential in the chip seal.


Road Wizard:

The area right around the manhole has settled, and the fix is to cut out a section of asphalt and replace it.

In addition to these types of manhole repairs, ACHD will be hiring a contractor to fix about 85 more manholes around Ada County.

Those manholes will need more work, and simple asphalt repairs will not do. They will have to be "raised" to street level by installing new frames and covers, as well as laying new concrete around them.

Dear Road Wizard readers: In a December column, "Susan" wrote about her concern that the stop sign on Quail Ridge at Collister Drive was set so far back from the road that it made it hard to see traffic coming from Collister, which doesn't have a stop sign.

Road Wizard Update

Road Wizard:

Stop signs are generally placed for optimal visibility upon approaching an intersection. However, sometimes they are located further back to allow drivers to first stop and look for pedestrians, then move forward, stop, and check for oncoming traffic. The "second stop" location is often closer to where driver sight distance is considered.

ACHD's latest check of Quail Ridge from the "second stop" found that the sight distance is still adequate for the 20 mph advisory speed on Collister, and there are no crashes on record over the last five years. So no stop sign changes will be made at this time.

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