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Some crosswalks will fade away

But Medford police will still enforce a law requiring motorists to stop for pedestrians

If crosswalks seem to be disappearing in Medford, it's not an illusion.

The city has decided that that the two white stripes showing a pedestrian where to walk at hundreds of intersections will fade to black.

Instead of two lines, the city will paint a half-line ' a so-called stop bar ' to indicate to drivers where to stop.

Public Works Director Cory Crebbin said national studies have shown that crosswalks don't keep pedestrians safe from inattentive drivers.

painting so many corners, it did a disservice to pedestrians by giving them a false sense of security, he said.

Intersections with signals and school crosswalks supervised by crossing guards will continue to be restriped, he said. Other pedestrian areas may also get stripes, depending on need.

Other than a safety issue, Crebbin said the city also doesn't have the manpower to complete current painting projects this year, much less continue to repaint old intersections.

We don't have enough resources to restripe Medford, said Crebbin.

Cooler weather this spring stalled street painting efforts by about three weeks.

This has been a really tough striping year, he said. We're reaching the point where we can't stripe everything in the city.

He said the decision to not restripe certain crosswalks is part of a uniform engineering practice adopted three years ago by the city.

At that time, it was also decided to no longer paint yellow curbs near fire hydrants, he said.

If the city were to paint crosswalk stripes on every intersection in a uniform manner, Crebbin said it would cost another &

36;250,000 a year in labor and materials.

To cut down on painting, the city will take a hard look at what intersections it will continue to restripe.

This will include looking at some crossing areas positioned midway down a block.

Crebbin said these crosswalks create confusion for drivers and pose a potential safety hazard for pedestrians.

He also said some crosswalks have been repainted by mistake by crews, and his department will continue to make an effort to restripe only designated intersections. We hope to improve our consistency, he said.

Some crosswalks that were part of a recent Medford police sting operation to catch drivers who don't pay attention to pedestrians might never be repainted.

Medford police traffic officer Jason Becker said that will not affect handing out tickets.

Every intersection is still considered a crosswalk, he said.

In other words, with or without stripes, drivers are required to stop for pedestrians at all intersections.

A T-intersection on Main Street at Genessee Street eventually will lose its stripes, but Becker said drivers still must stop for pedestrians.

Becker, who learned about the city's plans not to restripe many intersections last spring, said he doesn't have a problem with the lack of designated crosswalks. Drivers, he said, should know the law and stop for pedestrians.

We still plan to enforce it, he said.

Gerry Douglas, assistant director of Jackson County's roads, parks and planning department, said the county has no plans to change its crosswalk policy, nor has it discussed doing so.

But we don't have near the quantity of intersections that Medford has, he said.

Every county intersection with lights and other designated intersections, particularly near schools, will continue to have the two white stripes, he said.

The crosswalk lines painted on East Main Street in Medford may be a thing of the past. City officials say they don't have the money or personnel to restripe all the intersections, and that painted crosswalks can give pedestrians a false sense of security. Click the photo to see a larger (38k) version; use your Back button to return to the story. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell