Monday, March 24, 2008

Newspaper Regards Pedestrians As Second Class

The Press-Republican newspaper gives vehicle owners first class attention. But if you’re a pedestrian, tough luck, keep walking.

It’s obviously the PR is car centric. Back in November when winter was hitting, the PR ran an editorial complaining about pedestrians who press crosswalk buttons but don’t wait for the WALK sign. This action added an extra 15-30 seconds for a driver ready to hit the gas the instant the green light popped into view. These impatient pedestrians were “Jeered” by the PR editor. (Cheers & Jeers -- 11/5/07)

Is a quarter- or half-minute such an eternity for a driver sitting in the comfort of his climate-controlled car? Imagine 15 or 30 extra seconds standing outside in the elements, resisting wind chill, pelting snow or icy rain. Besides appropriate clothing, pedestrians aren’t sheltered from the weather like a privileged driver inside his toasty warm box. It’s understandable that a pedestrian doesn’t wait for the damn WALK sign; it takes so long because motor, not foot, traffic is given priority.

Then the PR ran another “Jeer” on its editorial page railing against people who walk in the middle of the aisle between parking rows at shopping centers. These people were obstructing the traffic flow. (Cheers & Jeers -- 12/17/08)

Try walking along near the parked cars and see what happens. Most drivers pull in when they arrive, then back out when they leave. That creates blind spots. A driver backing up is less likely to see you in a corner if you’re too close to his car. Also, increased distance from a car gives the walker more time to get out of the way if the driver is inattentive.

Recently the PR went on about potholes in the city. (“Veterans Lane is worst in city for potholes” -- 3/11/08) But what about pedestrians who walk in the street because the sidewalks are crap? They also have to deal with deep, water-filled potholes. If their shoes aren’t waterproof like car tires, well, too bad.

And then there’s the sidewalks layered thick with ice. A pedestrian has to tread slowly and carefully or slip and break something. (That something isn’t a bumper or taillight).

If a driver doesn’t like potholes, then drive slower. His travel time will still be a lot shorter than getting around on foot.

The pampered editors of the Press-Republican should leave their cars at home and walk to work for a while. Such a decision would save gas, help the environment. And, more importantly, it would show what real people have to deal with.

It takes a lot longer than an extra 15-30 seconds to walk on icy sidewalks like this one.

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