I just ran the numbers. There are two bright yellow signs indicating a crosswalk by where we live, a place where motorists regularly speed to gain access to a major road that leads to highways.
For six months I’ve been trying to get the road striped and they wouldn’t do it because the city owns one sidewalk and the county the other and they’re misaligned. A woman was killed on the next street on Sunday. They made the curb cut the other day and today they have orange and white flashers ready to go when the trucks come to install the new curb ramp and paint the lines.
Way to go, Dee! But I just ran the numbers and they are alarming for an urban place that prides itself on fining jaywalkers (supposedly zero tolerance) but cares not about pedestrians who actually walk to a designated crosswalk then look both ways for traffic and are nearly run over by drivers doing 50 in a 30.
I’ve lived here for 18 months and walk my old hip-less dog across that street at the crosswalk four times per day. That’s 18 times 30 times four, that equals 2,160 times I’ve crossed there.
Three cars have stopped for me. One, a guy who recognized me. Another a few weeks ago but the guy behind him didn’t like that he stopped so gunned it into the opposite lane and came in 2′ behind us so that doesn’t count. Today, I checked both ways but peeked out because there were parked cars blocking my view. The driver stopped and I waved a thank-you.
The percentage of drivers who have stopped for me and Zoe over an 18 month period is .0925. Less than 1%. People are congratulating me on getting a real crosswalk, and in the same breath they wonder if anyone will really stop. It is a sad commentary on urban life that as a pedestrian I feel safer in NYC, San Diego, Houston and other large cities.
Unfortunately, I think this is a dying city, with high unemployment, and people are angry. Angry people drive angrily, lay on the horn, and threaten pedestrians trying to cross legally at crosswalks. I’ve written letters to the editor and half of several hundred blame pedestrians for trying to cross the street!
My solution is to police the most dangerous crosswalks in the city, including ours. If we take the police off jaywalkers and assure pedestrian safety by encouraging jaywalkers to walk an extra fifty feet to cross safely, we’ll have fewer pedestrian deaths and end the jaywalking problem. Plus, the kicker, the City will get revenue from stopping dangerous drivers. Zoe says it’s a win win situation. Dee