Exit133 is about Tacoma

Guerrilla Street Markings Are No More

Earlier this month some mysterious guerrilla artist took the liberty of adding some street markings to the four-way stop intersection at 6th and St. Helens in downtown Tacoma.  The odd intersection gives the condos their unique shape, but also makes for a lengthy, and at times precarious, crossing for pedestrians in this “walkable” neighborhood.  Obviously someone felt the walkability could be improved with a little paint, and took matters into their own hands.  

Just in time for the beginning of Bike Month, some creative individual (or individuals) added a free-hand sharrow in front of Maxwell’s; a reminder that the roadway there is indeed shared between bicyclists and vehicles.  They also added a lengthy crosswalk, bridging the awkward intersection where the angular Baker Street converges with 6th and St. Helens, below the Triangle condos.  

This week, however, the City showed that it feels differently.  Street grinders showed up, and the renegade markings were blasted away, leaving the intersection once again naked and significantly rougher than before.

We’ve heard some outrage on the Facebooks and elsewhere from Tacomans who liked the markings.  Although we asked, so far we haven’t heard anything from the City on why this was such a high priority.

Also spotted over on King5.com.

 

City of Tacoma crews removed unauthorized crosswalk markings at 6th & St Helens.City of Tacoma crews removed unauthorized crosswalk markings at 6th & St Helens.

 

City of Tacoma crews removed unauthorized crosswalk markings at 6th & St Helens.City of Tacoma crews removed unauthorized crosswalk markings at 6th & St Helens.


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Comments

Justin Mayfield

I can neither confirm nor deny that the alleged perpetrators of the rogue crosswalks will be giving a presentation at City of Neighborhoods on them this Saturday.

http://cityofneighborhoods2013.com

May 16, 2013 at 8:51 am / Reply / Quote and reply


Jennifer

I walk through those crosswalks nearly every weekday and find them completely necessary. Traffic through St. Helens, Tacoma ave, Market, etc., is much higher than normal due to the detour with Stadium being closed. There is a constant flow of traffic and crossing is bad enough WITH a crosswalk. Drivers: pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way, crosswalk or no!

May 16, 2013 at 10:14 am / Reply / Quote and reply


Mike Belle

While I agree with the idea that drivers need to be more careful.  Pedestrians do not “ALWAYS have the right of way, crosswalk or no!”.

Per the WADOT website:

“Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway “

Basically, if it’s not an intersection or a marked crosswalk, pedestrians DO NOT have right of way.

May 16, 2013 at 10:47 am / Reply / Quote and reply


DerekRegistered

Where are you getting this quote? Here’s what we found:

(1) The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway within an unmarked or marked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bicycle is upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. For purposes of this section “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.

    (2) No pedestrian or bicycle shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run, or otherwise move into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop.

    (3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply under the conditions stated in RCW 46.61.240(2).

    (4) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.61.235

May 16, 2013 at 11:35 am / Reply / Quote and reply


Mike Belle

May 16, 2013 at 11:50 am / Reply / Quote and reply


Mike Belle

I think people get confused as to what “right of way” actually means.  Drivers are legally required to try and not hit pedestrians under all circumstances.  However, drivers are not required to yield “right of way” unless it’s an intersection or a marked crosswalk.  If drivers we’re required to ALWAYS yield “right of way”, then jaywalking would be legal.

May 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


DerekRegistered

We’re on the same page. That said, try to cross North I Street any time of day or night from one of the many unmarked crosswalk intersections and see how many people stop.

May 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Mike Belle

I know, I live right by there, the city really needs to put in a couple marked crosswalks, if anything just for Lowell Elementary.

May 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Chris

All of these street crossings are too wide. Part of the reason for this is that Baker St used to be a streetcar hill climb up to 6th and Fawcett. Without the streetcars on St. Helens the roadway is simply too wide to not have traffic calming of some sort. Pedestrians need marked crosswalks to cross the street in a safe manner.  Shame on the city for spending valuable resources destroying the integrity of the roadway to make intersections less safe. Shame.

May 16, 2013 at 11:04 am / Reply / Quote and reply


Rick JonesRegistered

Maybe we need something like this -
(see sketch page 3)
http://www.tacomatheaterdistrict.org/documentation/Final2010ProjectStory.pdf

May 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


JesseRegistered

Who’s the man with the master plan?

Check out page DT-64

May 16, 2013 at 4:04 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


JesseRegistered

Who’s the man with the master plan?

Check out page DT-64

cms.cityoftacoma.org/Planning/Downtown/Documents/Downtown Element 12-9-08.pdf

Helps to add the link!

May 16, 2013 at 4:05 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


JesseRegistered

May 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Rick JonesRegistered

Okay, got it. Nice. Baker should be one-way ‘north.’ The fire department likes to come down Baker on calls for speed and convenience and the southerly entrance to Baker would make that a little problematic. The walkway from ‘Market’ (I take it St Helens was intended) to Baker would mean tearing down a building. But after that it’s a huge improvement.

May 16, 2013 at 4:40 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Rick JonesRegistered

Can’t connect to your link. The plan is Seong Shin’s, was shown to the City around 2010 and is remarkably similar (like identical) to a portion of the city’s original plan for the Broadway LID that got dropped in the face of significant public pushback.

May 16, 2013 at 4:19 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Matt

All of these street crossings are too wide. Part of the reason for this is that Baker St used to be a streetcar hill climb up to 6th and Fawcett. Without the streetcars on St. Helens the roadway is simply too wide to not have traffic calming of some sort. Pedestrians need marked crosswalks to cross the street in a safe manner.  Shame on the city for spending valuable resources destroying the integrity of the roadway to make intersections less safe. Shame.

May 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Matt

Sorry.. clicked the wrong button…

I was thinking that they could have taken the grindings and maybe filled a pothole or two… but that’s a little too wishful on my part

May 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


JesseRegistered

I thought it was cool that someone painted in those crosswalks but wasn’t this a form of graffiti?  Perhaps art needs permission?

Is it time for a St. Helens LID?

May 16, 2013 at 11:22 am / Reply / Quote and reply


Erik B

The before picture:

May 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


DerekRegistered

I do like the Tacoma Runners photo. We may need this elsewhere ...

May 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

all the city did was distress the crosswalks to look like all the REAL city crosswalks.  Now people will really think they’re real.  #occupycrosswalks

May 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Joe

Anyone notice the new one on 6th, by Hob Nob?  Great work Guerrilla Street Markers.

June 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Teri

I don’t know why the city couldn’t have just decided that it was a good time to paint in “proper” crosswalk markings at this intersection. I guess they didn’t want to give the guerrilla-street-painters the satisfaction of making a difference. (Or am I just being cynical?)

I was so surprised the morning after the removal when I encountered a whole new set of bumps and wobbles on my bike ride downtown. It seemed counterproductive to grind up the road like that.

However, I think the city did paint in “stop lines” at the intersection, so that’s something I guess.

July 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


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