So… aside from being ‘mildly’ obsessed with bicycles and placemaking, I, along with many others work hard every day trying to make our roads safe and use-able for ALL modes of transportation. Roads aren’t owned by cars even though many drivers these days feel this sense of entitlement when it comes to OUR roads.
It’s really amazing that from riding my bike everyday, the more ‘in your face’ things become. All the rules broken by drivers AND bicycle riders. I was recently at my friends birthday party and another friend and I were talking and she said, ‘I was waiting a red light and I got really frustrated b/c I saw a couple bike riders just blow through the red light.’ Then she says, ‘but then on my way home, I saw a bike rider waiting at the red light and thought, now there’s a bike rider who knows how to follow the rules.’ She then says that she noticed it was my bike and it was me. Hearing this made me so happy. It made me realize that there ARE people out there watching and do respect when rules are followed especially when so many of us are demanding the same kind of respect. I recently saw two police officers on their bikes actually riding in the road. I caught up to them and said, ‘thank you for actually riding in the road instead of riding on the sidewalk.’ Most police officers on bikes I see, ride on the sidewalk. How can we begin to educate drivers about what we as bike riders are legally allowed to do when most police officers don’t even know???
Anyways, this blog is about the’ forgotten pedestrian.’ Recently, I feel like I’m just so in tune when I see pedestrians space be over taken by oblivious, non-respectful drivers. Many cities have formed ‘Pedestrian Advisory Committees’ which I feel this city desperately needs. Drivers are in such hurries these days that when pedestrians have the right of way, they are still honked at b/c drivers actually need to come to a complete stop and wait for them to cross. I see pedestrians speed walk through cross-walks which is upsetting b/c one shouldn’t feel the need to rush in order to NOT be hit by a car who can’t patiently wait 6-7 seconds. Drivers pull up to red lights and completely over take the cross walk which you’ll see in some pictures below. I captured a mail person who parked their mail truck in the bicycle lane that I use to get to two of my schools in the Hilltop.
I’ve been capturing these photos to display the lack of thought and the lack of respect that drivers have towards others on the roads. Is there a ‘fix?’ Well, I’m not sure about that but a few things can help:
1. More people being vocal about their RIGHT to have shared and safe space on the roads
2. Re-designed roads. So many of our roads need road dieted. Streets like Broad St. and Nationwide St. are streets that needs to be slowed down. There needs to be wide and well-designed pedestrian refuges in the middle of these streets in case pedestrians can’t make it across in time. The current ‘pedestrian’ refuge on E. Nationwide Blvd…. IS A JOKE!
3. Placemaking designs that create staying environments. You can’t just place benches in some dead space and expect people to utilize it and think you’re doing something beneficial for the community. It frustrates me – having engineers who know NOTHING about placemaking and smart ‘green’ design, design these spaces that you’ll see below.
This driver is well over half way INTO the pedestrians right of way.
Yes, this cross-walk is nice and wide but it doesn’t give this driver any right to wait inside it.
ALL of these cars have a red light and look where they are. They are through the cross walk and in the middle of the street creating no through way for any cars with green lights to make turns. All for what?? This chaos provides them NO BENEFIT.
These two drivers are in the middle of the street! You can see the cross walk…BEHIND them! A potential safety hazard but they obviously don’t seem concerned.
Good ol’ mail truck parked in the bicycle lane. The person wasn’t in there or else when I rode passed, I would have said something. I’m pretty vocal about my rights
This is suppose to be a little ‘green pocket park.’ Its near the corner of Town and Parsons and its just a joke. Do you see the trash can immediately next to one of the benches? There’s nothing ‘welcoming’ about this ‘pocket park’ at all. There’s no color, it looks like the benches were just placed there, and there’s actually MORE concrete than greenery. And, do you see any kind of pedestrian lighting??
There’s just absolutely NOTHING enjoyable about this dead space. Do you wanna hang out here? This is a perfect example of a POORLY designed and implemented ‘pocket park.’ Our city planners, whomever designed this needs some serious continuing education on placemaking.
This blog post today isn’t meant to be a ‘bitch’ fest. It’s meant to bring acknowledgment that we as pedestrians, bike riders, etc. need to be vocal and let drivers know there ARE more types of transport using our roads. The next time you get in your car and drive, be MINDFUL of where you rest at reds. Think about a time when you’ve been almost hit by a car turning right at a red light. Think about when the light turns green and you have the right of way to cross and a car speeds up and turns so they don’t have to wait for you to finish crossing. All of these things that we may not realize but when it happens, you should feel compelled to be vocal about it. Take back your space as a pedestrian. The drivers destination should NOT be more important than our safety.