German Village Gazette

Whittier-Mohawk gets pedestrian crossing

Enlarge Image Buy This Photo
The city of Columbus recently installed this pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Mohawk and Whittier streets.

It's what some German Village residents have wanted for quite some time: an additional pedestrian crossing on busy Whittier Street.

The city recently installed the prominent crosswalk just west of Mohawk, marked with bright yellow pedestrian crossing signs on both sides of Whittier.

Flashing lights above the intersection also were installed for all approaching motorists -- flashing yellow lights for east-west traffic on Whittier and red for north-south traffic on Mohawk, which also has stop signs.

Rick Tilton, spokesman for the Columbus Department of Public Service, said the city responded to calls from residents seeking a crosswalk.

Some residents questioned placing the new crosswalk west of Mohawk. The Brown Bag Deli and adjacent Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream both are east of Mohawk. So, people who are heading south across Whittier to visit one of the eateries have to first use the new walk to cross Whittier, then cross Mohawk at the south side of the intersection.

Tilton said several key factors led to the new crossing's placement.

The ADA curb ramps on the northeast and southeast corners are not aligned, which results in a slightly longer crossing time and longer time for pedestrians to be exposed to vehicle traffic, Tilton said.

And the Brown Bag Deli's outdoor seating is too close to the point where the crosswalk meets the sidewalk on the southeast corner, he said.

Also, there is more tree foliage on the east side of Whittier, so visibility is better for motorists to see pedestrians with the crosswalk on the west side, Tilton said.

In any case, state law and city code state that a pedestrian walking in a crosswalk has the right of way and motor vehicles must yield to pedestrians, Tilton pointed out.

There is an exception: "No pedestrians shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard," the city code says.

Jerry Glick, a neighborhood activist, said residents protested when the city removed a fully functioning traffic signal at the intersection several years ago.

"I would like a regular traffic light back in there," said Glick, who has long called for a traffic light at South Third and Sycamore streets, another German Village intersection that's home to a cluster of businesses.

"We have high pedestrian traffic, possibly more than any other community," he said.