City staff are evaluating the use of pedestrian crossing flags with a pilot project at two crosswalks on Main Street in Old Bellevue that launched on July 13. While other cities have tried this low-tech approach as a way to enhance pedestrian safety, it’s the first time the brightly-colored flags will be available in Bellevue.
The intended purpose of the flags is to improve safety for all roadway users at marked crosswalks. Over the course of one year, traffic engineers will evaluate the flags’ effectiveness in preventing pedestrian-vehicle incidents since few transportation studies have examined their use. If the system is found to be effective, other crosswalk locations in the city may be considered for the flags.
Crossing flags are easy to use, according to a video on the city’s website. First, grab a high-visibility flag from a bucket located near the crosswalk. Next, stand at the curb, hold the flag up, and wait for traffic to stop. Once vehicles have stopped, you should look both ways and walk across the street, using caution, while holding the flag out. When you reach the other side, place the flag in the holder.
Members of the public interested in helping with the pilot project can do so by:
• Reporting when flags are missing from their buckets by calling 425-452-6856 or emailing senior transportation engineer Kurt Latt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Giving feedback on the use of the flags by emailing email@example.com.
• Redistributing the flags evenly if one side of the street has more flags than the other.