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Interpretation Letter 2-563(I)---Pedestrian Flags for Crosswalks

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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

400 Seventh St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590

April 27, 2005

Refer to: HOTO-1

Ms. Kathy Varney
Project Coordinator
Warren-Washington County
Healthy Heart Program
100 Park Street
Glen Falls, NY 12801

Dear Ms. Varney:

Thank you for your February 15 request to experiment with the pedestrian flag education and awareness campaign to improve the safety of pedestrians at crosswalks. We have reviewed your request and determined that the pedestrian flag is not a traffic control device. Therefore, you do not need to request approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to experiment with the flag. The flag concept described in your letter is similar to the concept of placing retroreflective material on clothing. Although it is not a traffic control device, it is a way to increase the visibility of pedestrians.

The FHWA shares your concern for safety of pedestrians at crosswalks, especially crosswalks that are not controlled by traffic signals. In the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) there are provisions for the use of a traffic control device known as the In-Street Pedestrian Crossing Sign (Section 2B.12). This sign may be used to remind road users of laws requiring motorists to stop or yield to pedestrians within the crosswalk. The signs are on breakaway supports and can be placed directly within the roadway to draw the attention of motorists to the presence of pedestrians in the crosswalk. The combination of installing both the crosswalk pavement markings and the in-street signs have been shown to help improve the safety of pedestrians. Another traffic control application discussed in the MUTCD for use at unsignalized crosswalks is to install yield lanes in advance of the crosswalk along with the Yield Here to Pedestrians Sign (Section 2B.11). If you would like more details about the above traffic control devices, please visit the MUTCD website at the following address: You may also want to work with the New York State Department of Transportation to explore the possibility of installing official traffic control devices such as the ones discussed above. Their address is 1220 Washington Avenue, State Campus Building 5, Albany, New York 12232-0002 and the telephone number is 518-457-4422.

We appreciate your interest in pedestrian safety and hope the above information is helpful. We also hope that your pedestrian education and awareness campaign goes well.

Sincerely yours,

/s/ Regina McElroy

Regina S. McElroy
Director, Office of Transportation

Warren-Washington County
Healthy Heart Program

Hudson Falls Police

February 15, 2005

Regina S. McElroy, Director
Office of Transportation Operations
US DOT / Federal Highway Administration
400 Seventh Street -SW, HOTO
Washington, DC 20590

RE: Pedestrian Flag Pilot

Dear Ms. McElroy;

The Village of Hudson Falls and the Warren-Washington County Healthy Heart Program have teamed together and are seeking your approval to implement a Pedestrian Flag Safety Campaign in the village.

The pedestrian flag program would work in the following manner, a pedestrian would pick up a bright colored flag from a container at the crosswalk curb, this would signify the pedestrian's desire to cross and gain the motorist attention to the pedestrian, after crossing, the pedestrian would put the flag in another container on the opposite side. The containers would hold several flags and would be marked with instructions for their use. It is our hope that this flag program in conjunction with expanded media coverage and specialized police enforcement will significantly reduce the number of vehicle/pedestrian crashes as well as the unreported near misses that occur daily.

The Village has chosen the following three crosswalks to conduct the flag program project:

1.) State Route 4 (Main Street) at intersection with Washington Street.
2.) State Route 4 (Main Street) at intersection with State Route 196 (Maple St.)
3.) State Route 4 (Main Street) south of Feeder Street at the crosswalk adjoining the Feeder Canal Alliance walk and bike path.

It is our intention and desire to test this program for a period of one year from the date of approval by the Federal Highway Administration. We intend to gather useful data from these sites to measure its effectiveness, and will provide semiannual progress reports as well as a final report concerning our findings and recommendations. We agree to remove the flag containers restoring the crosswalks to the original condition after the one-year test. We further agree to terminate the program at anytime that it may be determined that there are safety concerns.

Enclosed, please find a brochure and the resolution adopted by the Hudson Falls Village Board granting permission to move forward with this campaign. The brochures will be made available at many sites throughout the village as well as on the Police Department website at

In closing, we would like to thank you for your anticipated cooperation and approval of this test program and look forward to making pedestrian safety a reality in our Village. If you should have any questions, don't hesitate to contact either Kathy Varney, Project Coordinator (518) 926-5906 or Randy Diamond, Deputy Chief (518) 747-4011.

Thank you for your time,

Randy Diamond, Deputy Chief

Kathy Varney, Project Coordinator