What on-road signs are appropriate where a trail crosses a roadway?

Advance warning signs that define the upcoming crossing condition to approaching motorists are useful to provide notice and create awareness of the subsequent crossing. Warning signs are black on yellow, diamond shaped signs that can be supplemented with text in plaques beneath them, such as the distance from the sign to the crossing. The W11-1 Bicycle Warning sign and W11-2 Pedestrian Warning signs are the principal signs to use and can be supplemented with a W16-7 downward, diagonal arrow at the actual crossing location. These signs can also be black on florescent yellow-green for increased visibility.

(Presently, there is a proposal for the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices [MUTCD] to have a combined bicycle and pedestrian warning sign. It is also proposed that bicycle and pedestrian warning signs are always black on florescent yellow-green.)

Regulatory signs with triangular "sharks tooth" yield pavement markings can be used to define a yield condition for motorists when pedestrians are present. The value of this treatment is that motorists are put on notice of the need to yield, but are not required to stop when pedestrians are not present. A critical component of this treatment is to place the yield pavement markings in advance of the actual crossing condition. This can increase the confidence of the trail user that the slowing motorist approaching the marking is, in fact, yielding. An additional benefit is that the pedestrian can be farther along in the crosswalk in advance of the approaching motorist, thus allowing the motorist to slow down, and pass safely behind the pedestrian without necessarily having to come to a complete stop.

Overall, this treatment can increase pedestrian confidence while reducing pedestrian crashes. This can also preserve the level of service for the street as stopping and congestion can be reduced (as compared to a full stop [sign] or pedestrian actuated signalized condition [signal]).

For more information:

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/

What are the issues where a trail crosses a road? http://www.walkinginfo.org/faqs/answer.cfm?id=3448

What is the current 'state of the art' regarding the design of safe crosswalks, especially in urban settings? http://www.walkinginfo.org/faqs/answer.cfm?id=46