UofA experiments with new 3D crosswalk

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A new crosswalk on Stadium Drive in Fayetteville was implemented as an extra measure to improve pedestrian safety. This particular version is unlike any of the others on campus.

The 3D crosswalk is an optical illusion; it’s painted with white vertical stripes like any other crosswalk on campus, but added shaded accents make the lines appear three-dimensional. Mike Johnson, the University of Arkansas’ Associate Vice Chair for Facilities, said the cross walk will stand out to drivers passing through the area.

“If you’re sort of looking around, it catches your eye and draws your eye right to the crosswalk, which is where you want the driver’s eyes,” Johnson said.

The 3D crosswalk is the second of its kind in Arkansas. The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith campus also has one, as does Kansas City and several European countries, Johnson said.

The Federal Highway Administration’s website said experimentation with 3D crosswalks resulted in some drivers swerving because of confusion. They thought the painted lines were objects in the road.

Johnson said this had to do with the lines being too graphically accurate.

“I think we’ve created enough of an impression to catch a driver’s eye but not to make a driver want to avoid it,” Johnson said.

In February, an 18-year-old student died after she was hit by a car while crossing the street on Garland Ave. Sgt. Tony Murphy with the Fayetteville Police Dept. said it’s important for drivers to stay off their phones and focus on the road, and initiatives like the 3D crosswalk can be a useful tool to reduce possible accidents.

“These crosswalks that are highlighted with either lights or this new crosswalk…are extremely important because they really gain people’s attention,” Murphy said.

Johnson said if the crosswalk proves to be hazardous, it can be easily painted over. He said facilities management will work closely with UAPD to monitor the sidewalk. He said he will survey students in Pomfret Hall and the new dorms near the crosswalk to gauge its effectiveness once the semester starts.

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