Monday, October 6, 2008

From Dangerous To Deadly

When I was in college ten years ago I lived in a little apartment on A street, just behind Arby's. Conveniently, I worked at Arby's, just next door to my house. But those two places are separated from the college campus by a four-lane highway, the busiest road in town. Back in those days we called it the "Suicide Run", dashing across two of the lanes, often waiting in the median turn-lane and then heading for safety on the opposite side. I crossed it at least twice every day. Yes, it was dangerous but there were seldom accidents because pedestrians were careful and only went across when there was a break in traffic.

Enter the city planners. These founts of wisdom have recently decreed that with the explosion of cracker-box dwellings erected along A street that the pedestrians need to have a right-away route to campus. So, Suicide Run now has an official crosswalk along with flashing yellow lights on each side of the street which are activated by the pedestrians who wish to cross. Supposedly the traffic stops when the lights begin flashing.

There is one problem with this brilliant line of thinking. Pedestrians, instead of carefully watching and waiting for the traffic to break before crossing now are lulled into a false sense of security by white painted lines and flashing yellow lights. Motorists on the other hand, many of whom have driven this road for years forget the change in the traffic pattern right there. They don't notice the lights. They don't see the college kid crossing the street. Especially if they are over 80 years of age. Twice in the last three weeks someone has been hit. The third accident this year.

According to this news story, motorists are urged to "use more caution". Whatever!!! How about a traffic light? How about a bridge? How about going back to Suicide Run? ANYTHING would be better than this death-trap that these geniuses have set up. Who puts a crosswalk in the middle of a cross-town four-lane highway and expects it to catch every single idiot driver out there? Ok, they did put little orange flags at each end for pedestrians to carry across with them. Bwahahaha! What college freshman is going to tote a little orange flag across the street? Yeah, all right. They did put a sign warning pedestrians that the cars may not stop. But hey, when you have three out of the four lanes stopped for you, why not go for it? No matter that some 82-year-old may come blazing out of nowhere and run you over.

I really, truly hope they do something to fix this soon. I mean beyond urging city residents to "use more caution". Otherwise I'm afraid we might see a news story with a funereal ending rather than a broken bone and released.

Those who read my blog on a regular basis know I rarely comment on current events, politics or the like. But this struck me as the height of idiocy, especially the part where it's not the fault of the city planners that the kids are getting hit. As a veteran of Suicide Run, I knew that crosswalk was trouble waiting to happen the minute I saw it go in. They need to either get rid of it entirely or go the whole way and build a bridge. In this case the Idaho mentality of cutting corners is a really, really bad idea.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah. That road is scary! And I've seen people cut across it in the middle of the night without the flashing lights or flags. They're too "cool" to use any safety measures. A pedestrian bridge would be a great idea. They need a couple of them across that street in different areas.