I’m strolling by the neighborhood, attempting to get eyes on a flighty hummingbird, once I attain the nook. A automobile rolls up. Uncertain of which manner I wish to go, I wave the driving force on. He waves me on. Not eager to confuse him by disappearing from view, I resentfully jog throughout the road. He drives on, self-satisfied.
However he shouldn’t be. I really feel watched, I really feel rushed, the birds have scattered. I’ve been compelled to try this jog-thing, performatively pumping my arms however crossing simply as slowly. However this have to be what he needs, for me to really feel like I reside in a neighborhood the place drivers care about my security.
However I’m not at all times grateful for Seattle’s pedestrians-first-no-matter-what tradition. It will possibly result in unsafe circumstances for walkers and drivers.
I as soon as walked towards a automobile attempting to make a tricky left flip. Seeing me strategy, the driving force mouthed an apology and reversed. Well mannered, positive, however astounding. I might have simply walked round and he or she didn’t should again up. Whereas I used to be driving on a neighborhood arterial, a automobile forward stopped immediately — for somebody attempting to cross in the midst of the block. All of us idled till she braved the road. Then there was the lady who darted out in entrance of me once I was the one automobile approaching, simply to get caught within the center. If she waited three extra seconds, she might have crossed your complete road. Or the man who let a cluster of walkers — none of them even pretending to jog — cross on the proper flip onto Interstate 5 in Northgate. The sunshine 50 ft away will flip pink. Vehicles will cease. Individuals can cross. Received’t kill them to attend and cross safely and in a manner that doesn’t again up site visitors.
I do know drivers are attempting to be protected and well mannered as a result of walkers are much less protected. Seattle has made strides in bolstering walkability, however there’s extra to do, particularly alongside arterials, in an age of rushing and distracted driving. Nonetheless, a pedestrians-first-no-matter-what strategy creates backed-up site visitors and harmful conditions.
Crossing solely takes a number of seconds, nevertheless it provides up in high-density site visitors areas. Somebody stops within the intersection simply forward of me, after which I’m caught at a inexperienced. The lights change, and now folks one other gentle again are caught as a result of we missed a cycle. I see this continually at my I-5 exit: A automobile making a proper stops. The lane fills, leaving exiting vehicles trapped on the gentle. Site visitors rapidly backs up onto the freeway and blocks the intersections the place individuals are presupposed to cross. Or when vehicles cease at non-designated intersections, ready on opposing site visitors or on the pedestrian to cross the road, everyone’s caught.
These conditions are harmful. At a four-way cease, if that oncoming automobile stops for pedestrians, the driving force lands on the middle of an intersection. Erratic, surprising habits like slamming on the brakes in the midst of the highway will increase the chance of accidents. However lots of my fellow drivers do that in the event that they a lot as see somebody standing on the sidewalk. That’s why now we have indicators — so everyone knows what different vehicles and individuals are going to do.
Additionally harmful is how pedestrians behave after they count on vehicles to cease for them, even when they’re not in a crosswalk or crossing safely. One evening, I noticed a boy jaywalking, wearing black, illuminated solely by the automobile that nearly hit him. So many individuals put on black, even to stroll at evening. So many pedestrians cross with out wanting each methods, or up from their telephones. I wouldn’t complain about this if Seattleites had any finesse, the best way East Coasters do, gauging site visitors movement and repositioning. Right here, they overtly step out onto the road, then meander throughout, typically diagonally.
So, drivers and pedestrians: Take note of what’s happening throughout you. You’re not the one ones on the highway.