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3-D crosswalk employs illusion for public safety in test run at KCK neighborhood

KCK traffic engineer introduces ’3-D crossing’ to the city

Public works employees in Kansas City, Kan., recently installed a 3-D crosswalk in the Northridge at Piper Estates neighborhood in an effort to discourage speeding and to improve pedestrian safety.
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Public works employees in Kansas City, Kan., recently installed a 3-D crosswalk in the Northridge at Piper Estates neighborhood in an effort to discourage speeding and to improve pedestrian safety.

Inspired by a traffic initiative in Iceland and a desire to improve pedestrian safety, public works employees in Kansas City, Kan., recently painted what they call a “three-dimensional crosswalk” in one local neighborhood.

They describe it as “three-dimensional crossing” because of the impression the paint gives on the roadway.

From a distance, it might look to be a typical crosswalk with white rectangular blocks.

Upon closer inspection, drivers may see the illusion: white blocks seemingly floating in the middle of the road.

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The Public Works Department in Kansas City, Kan., added a new three-dimensional crosswalk in the Northridge at Piper Estates neighborhood on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. Kaitlyn Schwers kschwers@kcstar.com

Lideana Laboy, a city traffic engineer for the Public Works Department, said she’s worked on many traffic safety projects in the past seven years, but the three-dimensional crosswalk is something the city is experimenting with for the first time. Laboy said it was modeled after a crosswalk in Iceland (an article by Iceland Magazine specifically states it’s located in the northwest Icelandic town, Ísafjörður).

The crosswalk was added last Friday in the Northridge at Piper Estates neighborhood in Kansas City, Kan., the neighborhood that’s serving as a “test location” for the city’s first three-dimensional crosswalk. Commuters heading north on Northridge Drive can see it near Augusta Drive.

“We thought it was cool and attractive and that it would have an effect on safety, so we wanted to try it ...We came here to talk to (the homeowner’s association) about it and they had an interest to maintain the low speed along the neighborhood, so we saw this as an opportunity to try this,” Laboy said.

The current speed limit on Northridge Drive where the crosswalk is located is 30 mph, but Laboy said the city is looking to possibly lower it.

“There’s a lot of activity, there’s a lot of children in this community and they’re near the school, so naturally the first interest is to maintain the safety,” Laboy said.

In the next few weeks, the city is hoping to receive feedback on the crosswalk from residents. Laboy said that input will help the city decide if it needs to make changes.

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