This post is contributed by Michael Anderson, MilWALKee Walks Ambassador.
Every journey begins and ends on foot. When drivers speed and fail to watch for people walking, Milwaukee streets can feel undesirable and dangerous.
In response MilWALKee Walks, a partnership between the Wisconsin Bike Fed and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, has organized a series of summer pedestrian actions at events across Milwaukee. The events have been organized at locations where there is a high-volume of pedestrian traffic. Our Walk Ambassadors arrive, brightly dressed with signs that state, “Yield to Pedestrians”, ready to we assist people on their journey . They call attention to the driver’s responsibility to yield to people walking at marked and unmarked crosswalks and teach people walking,to safely and assertively cross the street.
This season, our Crosswalk Events are focused on farmer’s markets and neighborhood concert series; these are locations with heavy foot traffic. We help hundreds of people cross the street,while educating thousands of drivers to yield to people crossing the street. Our collective mission is to educate people driving to allow people to cross the street and to teach people walking,to cross safely and assertively.
MilWALKee Walks crosswalk events have already made a tremendous impact on the street. The people
whom we have helped cross the street are thrilled to have the assistance. Often, these are people walking home with bags of produce from the market or families with strollers and radio flyer wagons full of their summer supplies. Sadly, our help is often needed to make their journey safe. While people in vehicles often prove to be antagonistic, they too respond positively to the awareness we are creating, especially when we arrive dressed in capes ready to bring lightness to very important behavior.
Most people believe in streets that are safe for walking and yet,yielding to pedestrians is not a regular part of our state or local culture. We are not out to act as crossing guards, but to give our neighbors a friendly reminder on how to treat each other when we are using the road.
We may have already helped you cross the street at one of our pedestrian actions. If not,come on out and enjoy your city at one of the fun free community events where we are taking action. Through August 25th, we will be at the Riverwest Garden Market, Skyline Music Series, Concert Series at Washington Park, Jazz in the Park, and the Fondy Farmer’s Market.
To volunteer or request your own “Yield to Pedestrian” sign, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned for photos, videos, and stories of from each of the sites. Remember safe streets start with you. Please yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and use assertive body language when crossing the street.