Central Way between Lake and 4th streets in downtown Kirkland is boasting five new crosswalk “bump-outs” -- curb extensions designed to make crossing the street safer -- and police and city crews are teaming up to help educate the public about them and the law.
Late this month and in December, plainclothes Kirkland police officers will be posing as pedestrians and using the bump-outs and crosswalks. The primary mission is education, but the cops might well be writing tickets to drivers who egregiously violate crosswalk laws.
“The project was partially funded by a grant that had an educational element, to educate pedestrians and drivers of crosswalk safety,” said Gina, Hortillosa, City of Kirkland Public Works Department project leader. “Officers will be in civilian clothes, and they do have the discretion of ticketing.”
Drivers who unintentionally violate crosswalk laws will likely be given advice on safe ways to approach crosswalks. The hope is also that drivers seeing others pulled over will also get a visual heads up on crosswalk safety.
Bump-outs improve safety by making crosswalks more visible, and by increasing sight-distance between them. In addition, pedestrians spend less time in the street walking shorter distances. And drivers are more likely to see pedestrians standing on an extended curb. The curb extensions were partly paid through a Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation.