The objective of this project was to evaluate motorist and pedestrian behavioral changes resulting from federally funded engineering treatments on SR 7 in Pierce County. The project installation included a median with a pedestrian refuge island, allowing pedestrians to cross one direction at a time. Nearby transit stops were also relocated to concentrate pedestrians at a single crossing point. The goal of the project was to increase safety for pedestrians, with particular focus on pedestrians and motorists over the age of 65.
A before-and-after analysis was conducted at S. 180th Street on SR 7. The main performance measures included pedestrian crossing locations, wait times, changes in pedestrian behaviors, and changes in motorist behaviors. The safety treatments did not have the expected positive effect of encouraging pedestrians to use the median refuge for crossing. Pedestrians were more likely to use the marked crosswalks in the before phase than the median refuge in the after phase. Motorist yielding also decreased after the median installation.
The true effects of the median installation may have been limited because of equipment constraints and project schedule. In addition, the sample size was small, particularly during the after phase, because of a low crossing rate at the site. This particular median design could potentially be more effective at a location with more frequent crossings.