Vision Zero and courtesy on the roads

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On my way to work the other morning, I got really irritated while I was waiting at the crosswalk.

The intersection, near my apartment is really annoying.  Particularly if you are using the crosswalk.  It takes for ever to cross the street because most cars speed by.  In the AM, you can wait for 10-15 cars to go by, before anyone stops.  Even though there is a light on the next block, and a good amount of congestion during commute hours.

So as I pulled out of my garage, I saw someone at the curb, and the light was red, I stopped for the pedestrian to cross.  I believe the official driving code says, all cars should stop if someone is in the crosswalk. The pedestrian was about 3/4s of the way through the crosswalk, and I continued to wait.  And the next thing I know, 2 cars nearly hit me speeding through the intersection and the crosswalk. They passed me really closely (think inches, not several feet), presumably to avoid hitting the person still in the crosswalk, but still bypassing me.  And of course, the light was red, so they had to stop 4 seconds later.

The pedestrian made it across pretty safely, but then I thought about all of the times that happens.  Cars speed over to the neighboring lane when a car is stopped, because they don’t want to stop or slow down.  This is pretty dangerous for everyone on the road, driving, walking or biking.  I know we have all done it, but I have tried to be a lot more cognizant about the whole thing, since it isn’t very safe.

So a few questions come up for me:

  • When did we all get to be too busy to stop or slow down?
  • Why are so many crosswalks (and streets) designed, so if you are driving you can’t see people waiting until it is too late?

KCBS posted a great interview talking about street design and pedestrian safety on the roads.  Lots to think about!

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