Woodstock is a pleasant blend of historic and modern, and it is home to a variety of businesses and people. Thanks to a vibrant downtown district, Woodstock is known for good food, good vibes and good fun. The area has become a hub for nightlife, recreation and arts and culture.
The Woodstock Summer Concert Series brings thousands of residents and visitors to the downtown area for a good time, on the second Saturdays in May through September. Even on non-event days, downtown Woodstock is filled with people. As a successful central business district, there are a lot of delivery trucks, cars and people making their way around Main Street, Towne Lake Parkway, Chambers Street and smaller cross streets.
There are close to 20 marked crosswalks in downtown Woodstock, from Serenade Lane to the roundabout at Haney Walk, as well as several on Towne Lake Parkway and Arnold Mill Road. Many of these crosswalks have pedestrian signals, illuminated road signs and streetlights to provide the best possible visibility for motorists and pedestrians. Pedestrian signals are synchronized with traffic lights, allowing pedestrians and motorists to move through the area efficiently and safely.
Still, some drivers and pedestrians have questions about who has the right of way. Let’s look at what Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 40-6-91) says:
• The driver of a vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching and is within one lane of the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. For the purposes of this subsection, half of the roadway means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel.
• No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.
• Subsection (a) of this code section shall not apply under the conditions stated in subsection (b).
• Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
It may seem like a lot to digest at first glance, but Georgia law makes it clear that while pedestrians typically do have the right of way in a crosswalk, the pedestrian is still responsible for exercising due caution before entering a roadway.
Motorists also hold the burden of being alert and aware of pedestrians near the roadway even before they attempt to cross. In short, if you are a motorist and you see pedestrians attempting to cross at a crosswalk, you must yield to the pedestrian traffic. If you are a pedestrian trying to cross, do not walk into traffic or assume motorists can see you.
There are many marked and signalized crosswalks downtown; unfortunately, a lot of pedestrians fail to use them — an offense commonly known as jaywalking. Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 40-6-92) gives guidance:
• Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway unless he has already, and under safe conditions, entered the roadway.
• Pedestrians crossing a roadway where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway if he uses the roadway instead of such tunnel or crossing.
• Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.
• No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic control devices. When authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.
Georgia traffic law outlines what pedestrian traffic should look like. Pedestrians and motorists need to consider the law and do their part to ensure downtown Woodstock is a safe and enjoyable place to live, work and play.
– Officer Buckner is a six-year veteran of the Woodstock Police Department and currently is lead traffic officer in the Traffic Enforcement Unit, specializing in DUI enforcement and fatality/serious injury crash investigations.