How to Make Transit Hubs Safer for Everyone Using Intersection Repair

ioby's picture

By ioby

October 13, 2014

By Mike Lydon of The Street Plans Collaborative. Photo credit: gregraisman

Transit Hubs are busy intersections where train lines, bus lines, cars, taxis, pedestrians, and bicycles often meet. Here’s how to make sure those who depend on transit the most (the very young, the very old, and families on tight budgets) can get across intersections safely.

STEP 1. Watch the People Flow.

Are pedestrians racing across a specific intersection? Do people seem anxious or hurried in certain spots? Take notes. Then, draw the intersection and mark the areas that seem the most unsafe. In some cities, like San Francisco and New York, you may be able to find crash data online to identify common problem areas. 

STEP 2. Build a Team.

Reach out to a diverse group of riders and find people to work with you. Does your area have an advocacy group for cyclists or transit riders? Is there a neighborhood or community association nearby? Pay special attention to civic institutions like schools and libraries. Build a group of people to help you repair the intersection.

STEP 3. Make a Plan.

You have a lot of options. Consider using highly visible orange cones to extend the sidewalk and shorten the distance pedestrians have to cross from one sidewalk to another. In Hamilton, Ontario, a group put daisies in the orange cones to signal that their aim was to make the area friendlier to pedestrians. Some groups will use washable chalk paint to repaint crosswalk stripes to make them easier for drivers to see. Others use rolls of reflective and slip resistant traffic tape, or even paint white stripes on black carpet and roll out temporary “crosswalk carpets.” Install buckets with crosswalk flags to make pedestrians more visible to cars.

STEP 4. REPAIR!

Start early in the morning. Have lots of volunteers on hand. Designate adults to act as crossing guards wearing safety vests to make sure everyone is visible and safe. Make sure one volunteer is there to video and take photos. Tweet at, or call the local press and neighborhood bloggers to cover the story.

STEP 5. Measure & Share Success.

The purpose of tactical urbanism is to demonstrate the way public space could be used differently with a short-term demonstration project. Decide what you want to document (e.g., shortening the length of time it takes for an elderly pedestrian to cross the street, how motor vehicle car speed was reduced, the number of positive feedback you get from drivers and riders measuring by thumbs up, honking, texting, tweeting or in person survey) and then share the results with your team, the local press, the community board or city council.


A "homemade" crosswalk in Oakland. Photo credit: Eric Fischer / Foter / CC BY.

Who should be involved

  • A city planner
  • Someone from the local community
  • Concerned parents / citizens
  • An advocate for cycling or pedestrian safety

Supply List and Estimated Costs

  • Orange Cones - $150
  • Orange Safety Vests - $30
  • Washable Temporary Paint - $100
  • Food for volunteers - $100

More resources:

http://www.streetplans.org
http://issuu.com/streetplanscollaborative/docs/tactical_urbanism_vol_2_f...
http://issuu.com/streetplanscollaborative/docs/tactical_urbanism-hamilto...
https://www.ioby.org/project/crosswalk-flags

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Shareable is featuring one how-to a week from ioby's Trick Out My Trip report. Below are all the posts in the series. It's all stuff that "any community can do to improve their transit experience in five easy steps."

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