It may well be that “Boulder’s infamous flashing crosswalks are among the safest in the city”, but I don’t see how the information as presented supports that conclusion. It’s interesting to know that just 6 percent of all crosswalk-related accidents took place at flashing crosswalks. But what if they only account for 1 percent of the total number of person-crossings? That would make them relatively dangerous. It’s not clear to me that anything like “accidents per crossing attempt” was factored into the stated conclusion.
As a pedestrian or bicyclist my personal definition of safety involves the statistical chance I’ll get creamed in, say, 1,000 trips across a given flashing crosswalk. I’m not particularly comforted by the fact that “flashing crosswalks are now statistically more safe” because the most dangerous one has been removed. I wasn’t using that crosswalk.
Nor am I comforted by the behavior I observe at two of the crosswalks—not only on the part of drivers and pedestrians, but also with the flashing lights themselves. I often come upon flashing lights with no pedestrians or bicyclists in sight. Once I even saw the lights start flashing spontaneously, for no apparent reason. As stated in the article, there’s a learning curve for using these crosswalks properly. I wonder what drivers are now learning from flashing yellow lights that quite often cry “wolf”?
I do appreciate that Boulder cares about traffic safety. But I’m not convinced that flashing crosswalks deserve the title “among the safest in the city”.