It sounds like a childrens' game, but it's the City of Astoria, Oregon's latest gambit to cut down on pedestrian deaths, as a number of older folks have been hit by vehicles, and the town's running dangerously low on its supply of codgers. So the brain trust at the city council there was kicking around some ideas for improving pedestrian safety, and rather than going for something like improved lighting or highlighted crosswalks, they're going to try flags 'n' paddles: you set up a bucket with some flags 'n' paddles in it on each side of the street, and the pedestrian picks one up and waves it around in the air while crossing the street.
Folks, we have a winner!
Citizen Jeff Daly shared an alternative idea. Daly said the city of Kirkland, Wash., had taken similar action on their crosswalk system after numerous pedestrian vs. car incidents; however, action was delayed because of the cost for the simple flag system.
It’s $28 per flag on a stick, which often need to be replaced because of theft. Seattle discontinued its flag system for that very reason. (Maciejewski said it was also discontinued because only 17 percent of pedestrians used it.)
It’s also $35 for the bucket to put the flag in on each end of the intersection.
Another $50 goes to install that bucket to a pole. Kirkland spent $60,000 on the study to decide on the flag system.
Tax dollars at work: $28 for a flag on a stick. Really? $70 for buckets and $100 to screw the two buckets onto a post.
No wonder cities are going broke.