Rick Percycoe, left, and John Pouris of the Anna Maria public works department inspect the just-completed “Stop, Wait, Wave” stencil Aug. 12, a message to help pedestrians who use the crosswalk at Gulf Drive and Spring Avenue. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
Pedestrians crossing Gulf Drive at Spring Avenue in Anna Maria are being greeted with a sign on the pavement on both sides of the crosswalk that says, “Stop, Wait, Wave.”
Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn said the stencil idea is for pedestrians to better use the crosswalk and exercise caution when crossing.
“This is a test case. If it works and pedestrians and motorists understand what to do, we’ll think about placing the stencil at other crosswalks,” she said.
SueLynn said the idea came from resident Maureen McCormick, who recently vacationed in Camden, Maine, where she saw a similar sign for pedestrians.
“Maureen said it appeared to work in that city. It sounded like a good idea, so we’re trying it to see if it works here,” SueLynn said.
Educating pedestrians and motorists is critical to crosswalks, she added.
The first step is for pedestrians to understand what to do at the crosswalk, the mayor said.
She hopes pedestrians stop at the stencil, wait for the flow of traffic, and then signal by waving to any oncoming vehicles that they are entering the crosswalk. Most drivers know to stop for pedestrians, but education is key to “Stop, Wait, Wave,” the mayor said.
Under Florida law, once a pedestrian enters a designated crosswalk, they have the right of way and vehicles must stop to allow them to cross the road, the mayor said. Vehicles are not required to stop for people waiting on the sidewalk or roadside.
It may take some time to develop the best educational tools for motorists and pedestrians to understand the stencil, she added.
“Hopefully, this will catch on. We’re going to watch how it works and discuss ways to educate everyone on what to do if we proceed further.”