Pedestrian Or Human Roadkill?
(Read it here first: my latest letter to the editor.)
Pedestrians, beware. What has been an improvement for motor vehicle drivers has made key crosswalks in downtown Plattsburgh more dangerous.
The old traffic light system at the intersection of Margaret and Cornelia streets was pedestrian friendly. When someone pressed the crosswalk button, stoplights were activated in all four directions. Also, you were given enough time to cross.
With the new system, the light remains green in the direction of the pedestrian’s travel; cars don’t have to stop. Drivers in a hurry might not see that the walk signal is white, telling you to cross. Even though you have the right of way, a lead-footed driver can cut you off on the crosswalk –- or run you over. And the new signal has a shorter timer, meaning that if you’re physically disabled, you better learn how to hustle.
Of course, Plattsburgh’s daily newspaper praised the new traffic light in a recent editorial. After all, why should car owners worry about those stuck on foot? Cars rule the street. The editorial went on about the mental stress caused by the old traffic light to drivers who had to get somewhere one minute earlier. Isn’t an elderly or disabled pedestrian worth a minute?
The city of Plattsburgh continues to treat pedestrians as second-class citizens. Maybe it will change its tune when someone gets hurt or killed. Like I say, it’s usually safer to jaywalk in the middle of the street than to use a downtown crosswalk at an intersection.
Luke T. Bush