Three high school freshmen from Kinnelon, New Jersey have designed and implemented a 3D crosswalk in their community as part of a national engineering competition, eCybermission. Dillon Fleksher, George Gillen and Ryan Winters live in a gated community in Kinnelon, New Jersey. The area does not have many sidewalks and many people complain that drivers speed and pedestrians, joggers, dog walkers, and the like never have a safe place to walk.
After seeing an image of a 3D crosswalk in Iceland, the boys were inspired to implement something similar in their community in the hopes that it would help drivers see pedestrians and improve safety. They were hopeful that the unique design would help pedestrians stand out when crossing the road. The students identified a location in front of the a restaurant within their gated community and moved forward with proposing their plan to the community. The first challenge was determining how to draw the 3D image because it was not obvious from the pictures they had seen of the finished crosswalk. Thankfully, the team was able to find instructions online for making the Icelandic crosswalk.
Dillon, George, and Ryan have known each other since middle school. This year though, the boys went to separate high schools and do not see much of each other as a result. The competition is not part of their curriculum or extracurricular high school activities. Instead, the boys formed the team so they could see each other and try something new at the same time. Of course, they also want to win the $9,000 prize, too.
Because they plan to install the crosswalk within a gated community, changes to the private roadway only requires approval from the homeowners association. When the team described their plan to the president of the homeowner’s association, they were met with enthusiastic support, but they would need to gain approval from the town’s safety officer. when they boys reached out to the safety officer, they again were met with support, but were told they would need to discuss the plans with the community’s engineer. The community engineer and township engineer determined it would be best to test out the changes at the crosswalk behind the restaurant before installing it up front as there was some concern that the 3D design may make some drivers swerve and cause more problems.
The team presented their idea to the board and the association and it was approved. They were now able to move forward with figuring out the details of the installation. The team reached out to Gauthur Ìvar Holdersson, the designer of the Icelandic crosswalk, and he answered their questions and made some design suggestions.
According to their advisor, the team “had to determine how many stripes based on the width and where the focal point should be. The back door and steps across the street leading to the parking lot weren’t parallel, so the crosswalk needed to straddle both to be safe. It took several attempts to hand draw the crosswalk based on the measurements.”
Once the measurements were in place, it was time to get painting. The homeowner’s association preferred the team bring in a professional painting company. They were in a race against the clock as November was flying by and the weather was often too cold and icy for roadwork. Finally, using the team’s designs the crosswalk was painted by V&V Line Striping on November 14, 2019.
In order to test out the effectiveness of the crosswalk changes, the team is conducting an electronic pedestrian safety survey. The survey will ask both pedestrians and drivers what they think of the safety measures.
The team is pleased with their work. They went above and beyond the requirements of the competition, which only required a mock-up of their project. In the end, they created a tangible safety improvement and were met with support from the community throughout the process.
The eCybermission competition will be judged in March 2020, but anyone who would like to support their efforts can vote for their project here:
Best of luck to these future pedestrian advocates!
Here is the before and after, showing the transformation from an unmarked crosswalk to a visually striking one: