What’s up with new downtown Asheville crosswalks?

You may have noticed new high-contrast crosswalks marked at some intersections in Asheville’s Central Business District.

They are the work of the Transportation Department in an effort to make pedestrians safer.

These are called ladder-type crosswalk markers, said City Traffic Engineer Jeff Moore. One high-profile area where they’ve been installed is at the intersection of Haywood Street and Battery Park Avenue, in front of Woolworth Walk.

“This location has more pedestrians than vehicles,” Moore noted.

Think about it. When you are in that area it often is jammed with people walking this way and that.

City workers have been installing the new crosswalks during overnight shifts to minimize disruption. The white part is a nonslip thermoplastic that sticks to the pavement. The high-contrast markers also serve as aids to visually impaired pedestrians. Remember, not everyone who is visually impaired is completely blind.

“We want this type of crosswalk to be our standard in the Central Business District and that will include the South Slope as we work that way,” said Moore.

The idea is that consistency in design will help everyone pay closer attention to crosswalks.

“It will be a process because there are a lot of crosswalks downtown,” Moore said.