‘Every corner is a crosswalk’: Roanoke campaign promotes rules of the road

Hundreds of driver safety signs now occupy Roanoke street corners

ROANOKE, Va. – A new safety campaign hopes to make it easier for Roanokers to cross the road.

The City of Roanoke and Ride Solutions joined forces for a pedestrian safety campaign, which officially launched Friday.

City traffic engineer Andrea Garland believes urgent action is required due to recent cases of cars striking pedestrians.

“This year alone, we already have had 18 pedestrian crashes and 3 deaths,” Garland said. “That is just too many.”

The campaign will feature 400 signs placed at street corners all across the city, emblazoned with the slogan: “Every Corner Is A Crosswalk.”

“I hope people will say, ‘I really notice now when I am at a corner trying to cross the street, drivers are stopping for me,‘” Garland said.

Virginia law states pedestrians have the right to safely cross any intersection, regardless of if there is a painted crosswalk.

Sarah Hayashi knows the law, but said she has struggles crossing the street in her neighborhood of Wasena.

“I’ve been honked at a couple of times for crossing at a corner; someone even yelled at me from the window to cross at a crosswalk,” Hayashi said. “When I was doing driver’s education, this was really hammered home, but I don’t know if that has always been the case.”

David Perry often walks through downtown Roanoke. He said cars usually stop for pedestrians in one of Roanoke’s busiest intersections: the Market Street crossing.

“When people cross in front of City Market, drivers stop. I’ve always noticed that,” Perry said. “It feels very safe to me compared to downtown Richmond or something like that.”

Garland said the goal of the campaign is for drivers and pedestrians to treat every intersection like the City Market intersection.

“It’s how we teach our kids since they were little the importance of being safe on the street and crossing safely,” Garland said.