| At some point throughout your travels, you will become a pedestrian. Whether you are casually walking, jogging, shopping, or simply commuting to work, it will be necessary for you to exit your vehicle and interact as a pedestrian with the driving traffic. The majority of vehicular traffic within City of Billings seems to be unaware of pedestrians and laws governing them. Whether it’s the disregard of pedestrians waiting to cross at crosswalks, or lack of knowledge of the laws that protect them, pedestrians are seen as a nuisance to vehicular traffic and not afforded the attention they deserve.
In 2011, the City of Billings adopted a Complete Streets Policy (http://www.ci.billings.mt.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/7465). This resolution defines a complete street as a road that has design features that contribute to a safe, convenient, or comfortable travel experience for all users. More generally, a complete street is one that accounts for not only vehicles, but also bicycles, pedestrians, transit, and users of all ages and abilities. This policy has placed added importance to the design and education of all types of users of the public roadways and the interaction between the different users.
There are two types of crosswalks: “marked” and “unmarked”. A marked crosswalk consists of white paint outlining the traveled path of pedestrians. An unmarked crosswalk is the portion of the street that connects two aligned sidewalks across the intersection. The formal definition of a crosswalk from State law is shown below:
“The part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway; or
Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrians crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.”
At any and all crosswalks (marked or unmarked; at an intersection or midblock), drivers are required by State law to yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be, to pedestrians. However, this is not happening in Billings. The Engineering Division has implemented a number of different crossing treatments in an effort to draw attention of the drivers to crossing pedestrians to improve both the compliance rate and safety of the intersections.
Pedestrian Crossing Enhancements
City Engineering Division
2224 Montana Avenue
Billings, MT 59101
(406) 657-8231 (phone)
(406) 237-6291 (fax)