News of Madison Valley

Madison Park Crossing Flags

MAY 1, 2016 | REG NEWBECK

Madison Park is very fortunate to have crossing flags that enable people to cross streets, hopefully safely, on East Madison from 32nd Ave East to 43rd Ave East including several side streets like East Lee and East McGilvra Boulevard. The number of crossing locations with flags has increased three-fold since the flags were placed in the business area in 2008 by Historic Madison Park (HMP).

Madison Park is one of the several neighborhoods in Seattle with crossing flags. These flags are okay with the City of Seattle, but they are not funded by the City. We’ve heard that some residents don’t see the need for the crossing flags and some don’t use them, but we believe that the majority of residents want the flags based on feedback we’ve received.

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Ken Myrabo and I maintain the flag system with the assistance of others like Jim Hagen and his wife. This effort includes making sure that each of the crossing flag holders have the correct number of flags. Each holder should have three flags except for the Red Apple and Pharmaca locations which have four due to higher pedestrian traffic. The effort also includes replacing broken flag holders and repairing the flags. We often have to replace flags due to theft and vandalism which includes ripping the flag off of the pole, breaking the pole or even trying to burn the flag. We’ve even had some flag holders destroyed by being hit by a vehicle. Currently, with 30 locations it takes 94 flags to cover all areas. The flags cost starts at six dollars each and goes up based on what is on them.

We are now approaching summer with a lot of visitors in the Park. This is the time of year when our flag loss rate goes to 5 to 10 flags per week. We currently have flags provided by State Farm (green) and Key Bank (red). Some people don’t like advertising on the flags, but this is America, and we have stadiums and events supported by businesses. Shortly we will have to order additional flags, and unless an individual is willing to pay for the flags, they too will have advertising from one of our generous businesses. A rough cost for a new order of at least 150 flags would be over $900. 

The flags do not guarantee your safety in crossing the streets, and you should still try to make eye contact with drivers to make sure cars, trucks, and bikers see you. In other words, be defensive when crossing streets. Drivers are supposed to stop when pedestrians are in the intersection, but as we all know, some don’t. Here are a few things you can do to help us with the flags.

 

  • If you use a flag, please return it to a flag holder in Madison Park. Flags can be used for more than one intersection.
  • If you see a flag that is not in a flag holder, please return it to a flag holder in the Park.
  • If you are at a crossing on the street and notice that there are no flags on the other side, then please help by taking an extra flag across with you. This action is similar to the “pay it forward concept.”
  • Encourage your kids and the seniors to use the crossing flags and to return them to the nearest location.
  • Do not get mad and toss a flag at an offending driver’s vehicle.
  • Contact us before borrowing flags for your private use.

 

The flags are a community asset for Madison Park, and we hope you use them and encourage others to do so. We also would like to thank those helping us make sure that each flag holder has flags for the next user. If you have any suggestions about the flags or wish to help, please contact us on NextDoor.

 

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