Short-timed pedestrian lights at Hidalgo Co. Courthouse crosswalks raise right-of-way concern
EDINBURG – Crosswalks surrounding the Hidalgo County Courthouse are programmed to allow pedestrians cross the street under a predetermined amount of time. Some timings fall short, leaving pedestrians stranded midway.
Plaintiffs, defendants, attorneys and dozens of people go to the Hidalgo County Courthouse on a regular basis. The parking situation will mean many will have to cross the street to get there. Pedestrians depend on crosswalks to guide them on when to start crossing the street.
At the intersection of University Drive and 10th Street, pedestrians will often end up at the middle of the road when the time runs out. That's also when oncoming traffic gets a green light. Pedestrians CHANNEL 5 NEWS talked to say they are unsure who has right-of-way at that point.
Chris Brasure, a personal injury attorney, explained state law addresses situations like this. "Actually, in that case, you should have continued, because the Texas Transportation Code specifically says that when somebody has a walk sign that they're facing they are entitled to cross the street. The other vehicles need to stop. That's called the right-of-way."
If there is an island in the middle of the street, the pedestrian's responsibilities shift.
"It does actually," said Brasure. "The Transportation Code says that if the sign is illuminated for you to walk and then it changes to "don't walk", if there's a safety island in the middle of the road. Then, the safety island is where you should wait until the 'walk' signal illuminates again and then you can proceed to the other side of the road."
The Transportation Code 552.008 also dictates what drivers should do. It says drivers shall "Exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian on a roadway; give warning by sounding the horn when necessary; and exercise proper precaution on observing a child or an obviously confused or incapacitated person on a roadway."
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