What are the official guidelines?
The City follows State policies and the California Vehicle Code. Guidelines are outlined in the California Department of Transportation Traffic Manual. Traffic control devices include signal lights, traffic signs, and paint markings. The State Manual covers all aspects of the placement, construction, and maintenance of every form of approved traffic control. The guidelines prescribe five basic requirements for all devices. They should:
Fulfill a need.
Convey a clear simple meaning.
Command respect of road users.
Give adequate time for proper response.
The State Manual emphasizes "uniformity" of traffic control devices. A uniform device conforms to the regulations for dimensions, color, wording, and graphics. The standard device should convey the same meaning at all times. Consistent use of traffic control devices protects the clarity of their messages. As stated in the State Manual, "uniformity" must also mean treating similar situations in the same way.
What is a crosswalk?
Crosswalks are either "marked" or "unmarked". The California Vehicle Code defines a "crosswalk" as the portion of a roadway at an intersection, which is an extension of the curb and property lines of the intersecting street.
A "marked crosswalk" is any crosswalk which is delineated by white or yellow markings placed on the pavement. All other crosswalk locations are therefore "unmarked".
How are crosswalks used?
At any crosswalk (marked or unmarked) drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Crosswalks are marked mainly to encourage pedestrians to use a particular crossing.
Studies conducted on the relative safety of crosswalks support minimal installation of marked crosswalks.
Research suggests that a marked crosswalk can give pedestrians a false sense of security. At all crosswalks, both marked and unmarked, it is the pedestrians’ responsibility to be cautious and alert while crossing.
Where are crosswalks normally marked?
Crosswalks are marked at intersections where there is substantial conflict between vehicle and pedestrian movements, where significant pedestrian concentrations occur, where pedestrians could not otherwise recognize the proper place to cross, and where traffic movements are controlled. Examples of such locations are:
Approved school crossings.
- Signalized and four way stop intersections where there is significant pedestrian traffic and one or more crossing location has been prohibited.
These examples follow the philosophy of marking crosswalks as a form of encouragement. In the first case, we are encouraging school children to use a crossing which is normally being monitored. In the second case, we are encouraging all pedestrians to avoid a prohibited crossing. It is the City’s policy not to paint crosswalks at midblock locations where traffic is not controlled by stop signs or traffic signals. Painted crosswalks should only be used where necessary to direct pedestrians along the safest route.
What are special school crosswalks?
When a marked crosswalk has been established adjacent to a school building or school grounds, it shall be painted yellow. Other established marked crosswalks may be painted yellow if the nearest point of the crosswalk is not more than 600 feet from a school building or ground.
Crosswalks may be marked at all controlled intersections on the "suggested route to school", available from your local school or traffic engineering division. They should also be marked where there is high conflict between vehicles and students (while crossing), where students are permitted to cross between intersections, or where students could not otherwise cross.
The best safety measure for school age children is to educate them on how and where to safely cross the street.
If you have any questions, requests or suggestions concerning traffic control, call the Traffic Engineering Division (714) 765-5183