Depending on which internet site you read, the pedestrian crosswalk quite possibly dates back to ancient Pompeii, with huge blocks built into common roads to allow for people to cross safely. Of course, they didn’t have cars in ancient Pompeii, to my knowledge, and so the modern crosswalk was designed around the turn of the century, and may be because of an op-ed written by a concerned traveler who wrote “Could you do something to help the pedestrian to recover the old margin of safety on our common streets and roads?” (Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedestrian_crossing) Fast forward to modern Rhode Island and Wickford Village and you will see the fruits of this concerned traveler’s proposal in full view.
There are several pedestrian crossing signs both in the village of Wickford and on the outskirts of Wickford that encourage safety. “Yield to Pedestrians When Turning” is one of the best signs I have seen in Wickford Village. When you are traveling down West Main St. into Wickford, you have two travel options in your motor vehicle. You can continue straight onto Main St. to go to shops, neighborhoods, marinas, and the Town Dock. In this case, there is a crosswalk located at The Grateful Heart, Midnight Sun, Beauty and The Bath store locations as well as a second crosswalk at Different Drummer, and the Book Garden. Or, you can make a right onto Brown St. to shop, eat, and enjoy Wickford. If you are traveling on this route, there is a pedestrian crosswalk that connects The Place with historic Updike Park. There is not a lot of road between these crosswalks, so it important to look ahead of you to both crosswalk locations as you travel into Wickford on West Main St.
The other addition to the signage in Wickford is the very noticeable sign reading “State Law Stop For Pedestrians Within Crosswalk.” I’m not a lawyer, nor law enforcement officer so this information is purely my opinion, not the law. For more information on the RI laws on crosswalks, you can consult the NK Police Department or the RI Department of Transportation. My interpretation of the laws on the RI DOT page are that if a person is clearly in the brick or the lines of a crosswalk, a motorist must yield to that pedestrian to allow that pedestrian to cross the street. The signs are marked with yellow background, a familiar red stop sign, and the pedestrian symbol and are prominently located right there in the middle of the road. In Wickford Village, like many small towns, there are pedestrians of all ages, athletic abilities, with dogs, strollers, shopping bags, to go boxes from our great cafes, and safety should be the number one priority when approaching these crosswalks. Personally, I love the sign in the middle of the street and I love the clearly marked “XING” painted on the road just before the crosswalk.
Lastly, long overdue are clearly marked crosswalks just outside of the village area. There is now marked signs at Wilson Park, near the North Kingstown Town Hall, and at the above section of West Main St. At this particular crosswalk, you can cross over West Main St. and take a very scenic walk down the hill, over a bridge, up another hill and arrive at the North Kingstown Free Library. This crosswalk has the preferred colorful sign located in the middle of the road. There is also a well marked yellow sign noting the crosswalk posted high above the road so motorists can clearly see that a crosswalk is close by. It is another sign that makes traveling into and out Wickford safer for everyone. So, if you are new to Wickford Village, or traveling through Wickford for the first time, please make a note that there are several posted pedestrian crossing signs throughout your travels. Thank you in advance for yielding to pedestrian and cycling traffic, who use these crosswalks to get to work, shop in town, grab a coffee, and just enjoy all that Wickford Village has to offer.