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Pedestrians directing traffic from the crosswalk...

If it doesn't fit anywhere else, it fits here

Postby Bwis53 » Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:33 pm

I know what a car bumper feel like. I prefer to wait until there is a pause in traffic flow. Or until it looks like they are indeed all waiting and I can see the white of their eyes.
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Postby roadkill bill » Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:58 pm

Either stopping or yielding for pedestrians crossing at a crosswalk is the law in all 50 states, so it shouldn't be too hard to remember from place to place. (The actual law varies from state to state. Some say yield; others says stop. Some require yielding when a pedestrian has not even left the curb. Others require that a pedestrian step into the crosswalk.)

A crosswalk is not just a place marked with white lines, but anywhere that would normally be considered an extension of the sidewalk. So just about every corner in the city has four crosswalks. Doesn't seem practical to put up signs and lights at every one, since it is such a simple concept.

All 50 states have codified that pedestrians should get first dibs on the public right of way. They get to go, and then the cars can go through if there are no pedestrians wanting to use that space. If there is a traffic light, all users follow that signal.

The fact that some Forons, or anyone from the general public, don't like the law doesn't make it any less valid. Deal with it, or lobby for it too be changed. But I wouldn't hold my breath.
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Postby primetime » Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:58 pm

I just got back from China where the survival of the fittest or fastest is the game for crossing the street. I didn't see any pedestrians hit or bicyclists or moped drivers during 2 weeks of a lot of street walking. Everyone knows that when you cross the street you better look and make damn sure your not going to get mowed down. Cars, bikes or bus it didn't matter they came through the crosswalk and peds either dodged or timed it not to get hit.

It seemed unbeleivably chaotic but at least no one got smoked. I think the knowledge that cars aren't stopping takes away that arrogance of some peds that feel I have the right of way so I am going to hop out in front of this speeding car. You might have the right away but moral victories don't erase the pain of a 2 ton car smashing into you.
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You stop, and it throws off my whole rhythm.

Postby c-squared » Sun Aug 12, 2007 8:37 pm

Crow wrote:This has happened to me several times lately as a pedestrian standing patiently on the sidewalk. I appreciate the thought, but please – don’t be nice. When I’m standing there, I’m not looking at you, the polite and thoughtful driver. I’m looking well past you, searching for an appropriate gap in which to cross. You stop, and it throws off my whole rhythm… not to mention that the other cars are probably not even slowing down. So blast on by. I can handle the wait. Really.


Exactly! It also applies when I am bicycling.
Thanks, Crow, for putting that jumbled thought in my head into coherent words.

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Postby snoqueen » Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:27 pm

Madison Newspapers' feature on the stop-for-pedestrians "sting" the cops ran a few weeks ago on the west side had a quote from the out-of-uniform cop who played the pedestrian. He said it was scary walking out in front of the cars, basically.

Well, the man was right. It IS scary, and for a good reason: if the car doesn't stop you get creamed. You're looking at months of rehab if you're lucky, and far worse if you aren't.

Why would anybody DO this if they weren't getting paid? This is the worst law to come along in years and years.

Just because something is legal doesn't mean it's a good idea. I am sticking to my present system of waiting for a break in the flow. I try to stand as far back from the curb as I can to signal the idea that I am NOT trying to stop traffic. It's up to ME when to cross, and I'll damn well use my best judgment, not throw myself in front of a line of cars or walk into the street just because some do-gooder thinks it's time for me to go.

Please, cars: mind your own business, OK? We can judge the whole situation a lot better than you can, and it's our ass, not yours.

Same with bike-path crossings, which we covered in a previous thread.
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Postby Bwis53 » Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:33 pm

Exactly why I find Webster and E. Main so frustrating. Even worse is when a delivery truck, SUV or bus stops right by GEF and I can't see a blasted thing past them! How do I know if someone's coming around the curve, Great Dane? How do I know if that third lane, away from me is going to stop? I can only hope, like last time, the first two lanes stopped, so I could have jumped back, semi safely, infront of the middle car, if the third lane was a stupid hog. I wonder if all these idiots, that do stop, got stung?
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Re: Pedestrians directing traffic from the crosswalk...

Postby SombreroFallout » Mon Aug 13, 2007 5:38 am

dstol62 wrote:I don't want to open up a can of worms, but . . .


If you have the right-of-way, take it.

There's nothing worse than a driver's 'generosity' in offering up a false 'Midwestern niceness' by waving a biker or pedestrian through an intersection when the law gives you (the driver) the right-of-way, and not give said biker or pedestrian.

It wastes our time. It's patronizing as hell. It's dangerous. We can't trust you.

If the situation is as you describe, maybe the it's a signal pedestrians in general can't trust drivers in general.

However, I am tired of these "wanna-be crossing guards" giving me "permission" to drive past them when I have already taken the time to stop. If they are that fearful of getting run over, they should find an alternate mode of transportation.


Pedestrians don't need your "permission" to cross, and many would rather wait for an opportunity. It's inefficient to hold you up, so I'm sure they feel you're wasting your time and theirs.
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Postby Wet_Pavement » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:55 am

But when are they going to have a sting on pedestrians? All they have to do is sit at State and Gorham and hand out tickets as the pedestrians come across against the light as they make cars stop when the cars have the green.
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Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:00 am

Wet_Pavement wrote:But when are they going to have a sting on pedestrians?

Maybe they are waiting for UW's fall semester to start. Then the city could make a bundle of money on jaywalking tickets. I know the MPD has done this in the distant past, but probably not in recent years.
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Postby pjbogart » Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:19 am

In a perfect world, all cars would stop for pedestrians using a crosswalk. I, for one, am not going to risk my life assuming that cars will stop, especially on multi-lane streets where one driver shows courtesy and the others are oblivious. I'm a big guy, but if a van stopped to let me cross, I doubt drivers in the next lane would be able to see why the van was stopping.

Thanks, but no thanks. I'll wait until the cars are gone before I cross the street. If I were in a hurry, I wouldn't be walking.
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Postby narcoleptish » Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:37 pm

They were running one of these stings on Atwood and Ohio last week. I want to know when they will run a sting somewhere like E. Wash and 2nd, or University and Franklin. I assume these six lane roads are subject to the same law as Atwood and Willy, right? Rush hour at either of these intersections would be a huge income producer for the city. Enforcing the law at a few chosen intersections is bullshit, but I assume they're hitting the areas where all the complaints come from. I understand, you folks on Center ave paid 300K for 75K worth of house and now you can't get over to Zoma for your latte. I feel your pain.
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Postby roadkill bill » Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:04 pm

Maybe they are doing the enforcement at places where pedestrians are making an effort to cross the street. And yes, the Isthmus area and smaller arterial streets are often the places people are walking and needing to cross.

I also recall sting operations in Waunakee as well - the place where people move to escape all the crazy Madison taxes and policies. As a matter of fact, Elaine Bruskewitz - one of the most conservative members of the Dane County Board, and a huge proponent of people moving to the auto-dependent periphery (probably because it supports her real estate business) - was out there cheering on the cops as they ticketed drivers for not yielding.
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Postby equuspower » Tue Aug 21, 2007 3:40 pm

I think Madison Metro needs to remind their drivers about the law. There have been many times when I'm in the middle of the walkway at Park and W. Johnson when the turning light turns green for the bus, and I've been cut off by the bus when they turn. They certainly can wait another 30 seconds until people are finished crossing that street. That turn light comes on much too quickly. A person can not completely cross that intersection before the light turns.
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