3.26.2007

pedestrian and cycling issues in dc

pedestrian and cycling issues in dc...

last week there was an announcement in the washington post that mayor fenty was working with DDOT to actively calm traffic

sure enough...
before that week was up I spotted some of DC's finest out on a corner stopping skoff laws and issueing tickets

AWESOME!

okay... a start
but... this again falls into the misconception that punishment (the ticket) changes behavior
when in actuality... it is the threat of punishment that changes behavior

how many people have been pulled over for drunk driving?
then in the following years... what percentage of those people get pulled over again?
an extreme example... but even in these cases the behavior is not altered
and those are just the people who have been caught on the first and second occassions
(does hitting your dog stop them from misbehaving? no... the threat that they may get punished is what curbs behavior)

a number of years ago my then girlfriend and now wife and I went up to Nova Scotia for a wedding
while in Halifax I was amazed at the pedestrian behavior
no one jay walked
but... the pedestrian had the right of way
if it looked like the pedestrian was going to raise their foot to step into the street then oncoming traffic would slow, stop, and yeild

well...
here in Washington DC things are a little different
pedestrian traffic is out there looking out for themselves
it does not matter what the lights are doing or what the cross walk says
the pedestrian needs to take a serious look around before they step off the sidewalk
crossing in the crosswalk is not always the most safe place to cross
which leads me to my thought...

control the car traffic before getting worked up with the pedestrian and cyclist traffic
the people on foot and on bike have adapted to the chaos
understanding the danger of car traffic they have learned to cross where-ever and when-ever
just trying to get across the street safely
just putting themselves out of the point of intersection of the moving traffic
just trying to keep out of harm's way

until it is safe for the pedestrian to follow the law
it is vital for the pedestrian to do what is most safe
even if the most safe thing to do is to cross outside of the cross walk
and to... cross when it is clear rather than when the cross walk signal grants the foot traffic their "right of way"

just my disjointed thought of the morning
good morning
and
have a nice day

happy monday

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