Pedestrian Safety on Hydraulic Road

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

July 6, 2006

The stretch of Hydraulic Road between Route 29 and Route 250 is one of the busiest in the city. Combine volume and speed of traffic along with pedestrians crossing illegally, and that can spell tragedy.

The scene of pedestrians illegally crossing Hydraulic Road is replayed everyday, putting their lives and the safety of others in jeopardy.

"This is an area where you have a lot of folks that want to get from behind me over to the Kroger. They don't want to walk all the way up to the corner but that's what they need to do," said Sgt. Mike Farruggio of the Charlottesville Police Department.

This style of jaywalking knows no bounds. In just an hours time, our cameras taped women, men, parents with children and even a bicyclist breaking the law. The battle between drivers and walkers for room on the road rages on each and every day.

"Pedestrians want to be able to cross the road wherever they want to rather than doing it safely at the corners or on crosswalks. Cars want to drive up the road while not be hampered by the pedestrians," Farruggio said.

Sgt. Farruggio heads the Charlottesville Police Department's traffic unit. He says this is a growing problem. While the problem mostly lies with the pedestrian, drivers need to be aware.

"As far as drivers are concerned, if there's speed involved on the drivers part, that is automatically going to put them in a very bad situation where they are going to be completely liable for the accident," he said.

There are two legal hints to keep in mind. Obviously, it is illegal for pedestrians to cross anywhere besides a crosswalk or a corner. As for drivers, Virginia law mandates that if you see a pedestrian in a crosswalk, you must yield the right of way.

Police say two of the most notable pedestrian problem areas are the Corner District and Market Street near the Downtown Mall.

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