Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Public Service Announcement On Street-Crossing

My earlier post on red-light cameras led to some comment-thread discussion about downtown drivers mowing down pedestrians. As both a downtown driver and a downtown pedestrian (though usually not at the same time), I feel it necessary to offer the following advice to those strolling about downtown:

In order to safely cross the street, follow these simple steps:

1. Proceed to the nearest crosswalk. Downtown, you can usually find one every half-block.

2. Wait for the crosswalk indicator to say "Walk." The flashing "Don't Walk" sign does not mean "Walk, but do so very quickly."

3. Cross the street at a ninety-degree angle to the curb, within the marked lines.

For those that think it's okay to cross the street with the traffic signal when the "Don't Walk" sign is flashing, you're wrong. You may notice that the pedestrian signal on one side of the street will read "Walk" longer than the one on the other side. This is not an accident. Instead, it occurs so that cars can turn off the street they're on without fear of hitting someone in a cross walk. Race Street, for instance, is a one-way street headed southbound. Fourth Street is one way headed west. The crosswalk indicators on the west side of the intersection (to cross Fourth) will start flashing "Don't Walk" well ahead of the traffic light turning red. If it didn't, cars that want to turn right could never do so. So when you cross against the pedestrian signal, you create a traffic jam. Don't do it.

And for the commenter who wondered: pedestrian injuries are a real issue downtown. Over the last year, I can think of at least two downtown pedestrian deaths, just off the top of my head.

Finally, to the guy who yesterday afternoon decided to run across Central Parkway (at Main Street) while carrying a baby in a car seat after the light turned red (meaning oncoming cars had a green light) : you're an idiot. And if I find out who you are, I may try to file a complaint for child endangering. I don't care how expensive your suit was. You need a couple of days at Queensgate to reflect on life.

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