“Remove all the traffic lights, yellow lines, one-way systems and road markings, and let blissful anarchy prevail. I imagine it would produce a kind of harmony. ” — Sadie Jones.
A M A T T E R O F P E R S P E C T I V E
When you are a pedestrian and crossing the street at a marked crosswalk do you view the markings as a protective barrier that will physically guard you from imminent harm or are the lines on the road cautionary signs giving you the “heads up” to be alert to oncoming vehicles?
If you are driving and you approach such an intersection do you put your people radar on high alert or do you merely glide into the stop in a half hearted manner, almost look left and right and then proceed letting oncoming foot traffic watch out for you?
Both of these are important things to consider and depending on your role in the scenario it could lead you to physical injury or a jail sentence due to negligent driving behavior.
In the photo about you will note the straight line that is in front of the stop sign. I have seen many drivers stop their vehicles over the crosswalk line and pay no heed to oncoming foot or motor traffic. They have an agenda in their heads and that is the end of the story. Pedestrians be damned!
I once observed a senior using a metallica walker being honked at by an impatient driver to quicken their pace across the street. The driver wanted to turn left and the pedestrian was at the half way point in the crosswalk. Needless to say the person with the walker proceeded across the street safely and was not flustered by the discourteous motorist.
Many times these marked crosswalks are misplaced and tempt pedestrians to jay walk between corners. I do that myself especially when the weather is wet and blustery or the roads slick with ice and snow.
In my area the police are aware that folks do this a lot and turn a blind eye to a lot of the “illegal” activity. But does a person really need to walk to the end of a long block to get to the other side of the street?
The crosswalk in the photo is near a grade school and the need to protect the children is paramount. Other neighborhoods have installed pedestrian lights that stop traffic so that a person can cross safely.
It is time to rethink the placement and the meaning of such marked pedestrian walkways.