In the wake of last week’s traffic traffic fatality, columnists and bloggers are calling for peace—and some measure of balance—between drivers and pedestrians.
On the Chevy Chase listserv, several posters speculated that the low rate of pedestrian traffic makes Connecticut more dangerous; whereas on Wisconsin, pedestrians are everywhere, on Connecticut there are just enough to create danger but not enough to make drivers expect to drive slowly.
A letter writer asks Dr. Gridlock about all-way walk signals, known as the “pedestrian scramble” or “Barnes Dance”. They protect pedestrians from turns, Gridlock replies, but also mean long Don’t Walk periods which cause pedestrians to try crossing anyway, like at Silver Spring. As another writer says,
The center point of the problem is Wayne Avenue and Colesville Road, which is designed entirely for cars. It’s huge and makes pedestrians wait an interminable amount of time for three or four cars to clear the intersection.
The added factor is the removal of all pedestrian arteries to go east of the station other than the one on Colesville. There used to be three paths from the station to other destinations, and now there’s one, and it’s narrower than it used to be.
Pedestrians should not be asked to bear the entire brunt of this construction. Some sacrifices in traffic flow need to be made so everyone can traverse the area safely.
There are a considerable amount of motorists on the streets of Washington D.C. And they’re all assholes. ... In just over one year of residency in the district, I’ve had countless unwelcome reminders of my mortality. Motorists in this town run me down like lions chasing gazelles on the Serengeti.
Let me make something clear: I am a prudent pedestrian. I obey traffic signals and observe crosswalks. In spite of my caution, I frequently find myself standing like a deer in headlights, face to face with a car careening toward me like a bat out of hell. ... My roommate once had a man get out of the car and shout, “What’s it gonna be lie to be right and dead?”