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Crosswalk Talk

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Crosswalk Talk

Postby ArturoBandini » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:26 pm

I thought that today's article on pedestrian safety and driver education was pretty interesting. It's not a new discussion, but it's worthwhile to bring up occasionally, because the problems go unsolved year after year.

I found the opening sentence a little confusing:
The Wisconsin law is very specific: "Drivers must yield to pedestrians when crossing a sidewalk or entering an alley or driveway."
Who is crossing the sidewalk, the driver or the pedestrian? (I know the answer to this, but syntactically speaking this sentence does not qualify as "very specific"). And this says nothing about crosswalks or crossing the street in general.

I'll admit that I wasn't fully aware of crosswalk laws (maybe still not completely). I thought that the only time that a driver was legally required to stop when continuing straight through an intersection was at striped crosswalks.

Several months ago, I was driving east on Speedway (downhill) and a guy came froggering across near the Hillcrest intersection - a marked crosswalk, but not striped. I say froggering because the oncoming traffic did not stop. He looked at me coming the other way, slowed his walk and shook his finger at me. I was confused - I couldn't tell if he wanted me to stop or continue through (was he waving me on?). I came to a hard stop and he gave me a piece of his mind. Sorry man, if you are out there, you were in the right. I think that I would have immediately understood his intention if he had extended an open-palm "stop" hand signal, as advocated in the article, instead of trying to scold me, rightfully or not.

Also, anybody else notice the boobs on the cartoon woman shown running away from the Prius in the title image? Sheesh.
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby Crockett » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:05 pm

When you make rules that defy the laws of physics, common sense and widely-practiced norms its not surprising that confusion reigns.

You can try to 'educate' people until you're broke, but you're not going to teach a cat to bark.
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby Crockett » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:08 pm

"Others say the wildest things. One woman said, 'I saw her standing there, and I was wondering to myself, what is that stupid girl doing in the street?"

That thought is far from 'wild'. Its sadly the most sane quote in the article.
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby snoqueen » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:15 pm

Quite frankly, I had the same reaction.

And don't tell me I'm anti pedestrian. I'm a pedestrian all the time and I don't do stuff like that. Just because it isn't illegal doesn't mean it's not stupid.
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby Detritus » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:17 pm

Slow news week.
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby ArturoBandini » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:22 pm

Crockett wrote:"Others say the wildest things. One woman said, 'I saw her standing there, and I was wondering to myself, what is that stupid girl doing in the street?"

That thought is far from 'wild'. Its sadly the most sane quote in the article.
I was confused by that quote too, but for a different reason. The "duck" mentioned in the article was Officer Bill Brendel, described as a big man wearing an orange shirt. Who was the "girl" mentioned in the quote? I'm wondering if the author and officer delivering the quote aren't thinking about two different occasions.

Overall, I disagree with your POV, Crockett. Roads should be safe for all users, including pedestrians, children, the disabled etc. This doesn't necessarily mean that they cannot also be optimized for automobile traffic, but it certainly limits the likelihood of that possibility. If this means making your cross-town commute an inconvenience, I'm OK with that.

I'm not sure how I feel about the "walking the duck" operation though. It seems like an effective way for police to collect some revenues while really pissing off a small number of people. I might find it more legitimate as an "teaching opportunity" if there weren't a penalty to be paid for not passing the test.
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby ArturoBandini » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:29 pm

snoqueen wrote:Quite frankly, I had the same reaction.

And don't tell me I'm anti pedestrian. I'm a pedestrian all the time and I don't do stuff like that. Just because it isn't illegal doesn't mean it's not stupid.
It's not always stupid. I've crossed Monroe at Trader Joe's on bike and on foot many times. If you wait for a total break in traffic, you might have to wait a long time, especially at rush hour. You just have to take a step into the crosswalk, watch to make sure that drivers see you, then start walking. That said, you probably shouldn't do so in front a Miller Lite delivery truck going downhill at 45 mph. Wait until there is a Honda or something, then make your move.

Did the article mention the time of day for the duck walking operation? The relative stupidity of stopping/not stopping seems highly conditional to me. If I'm the only driver coming in either direction for a half mile, then it's stupid to make me stop for a pedestrian (one could argue this on ecological grounds, perhaps), but if there is steady traffic, I think the pedestrian should be able to move into the street and stop traffic to cross, as backwards as that sounds.
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby fisticuffs » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:33 pm

I think the free market should decide who has the right of way. Who is Government to coerce me into using a crosswalk anyway? Those who choose to look both ways should live and those who don't should just die. Someone willing to look both ways will take their place.
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby Crockett » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:45 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:I've crossed Monroe at Trader Joe's on bike and on foot many times. If you wait for a total break in traffic, you might have to wait a long time, especially at rush hour.


That's why the traffic gods invented stop lights. See: most other cities in the country.

It sounds like the area is paralyzed by inaction on stop lights. According to the article, they can't decide where to put them (shocker).

As for pedestrian safety and equal opportunity of road use, I'm very much for dedicated bike lanes and pedestrian safety. But after years in NYC I've learned that cars generally have the right of way regardless of laws. Many pedestrians in this fair city of ours apply these pedestrian laws a bit too literally.

Image

That's dude's face says it all...
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby Stebben84 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:55 pm

Detritus wrote:Slow news week.


It's nice to have topics that don't always deal with political bullshit.
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby ArturoBandini » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:56 pm

Crockett wrote:That's why the traffic gods invented stop lights. See: every other city in the world.
Put your imagination cap on for a second. Imagine that a stoplight is really a signal that communicates information to drivers. That information tells the driver whether to continue on or stop in a particular location. Now imagine that a pedestrian signaling their intention to enter into a clearly marked crosswalk also communicates some sort of information to a driver. What makes the stoplight fundamentally different than a crosswalk?

You can think of a crosswalk as a really cheap, passive and temporary stop light. It's only there when it is needed. It requires no electricity to operate. Both stoplights and crosswalks are social institutions - neither are forcefields that actively regulate traffic (as mentioned in the article). It is entirely reasonable to try to strengthen certain social institutions when they fall into disuse or disregard.
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby jman111 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:59 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:I'm not sure how I feel about the "walking the duck" operation though. It seems like an effective way for police to collect some revenues while really pissing off a small number of people. I might find it more legitimate as an "teaching opportunity" if there weren't a penalty to be paid for not passing the test.

I'm curious, Artie. Do you feel the same about cops with Radar/Laser on highways? How about cops watching for bicyclists at stop signs?

As far as "teaching opportunities" go, would we be discussing the issue if not for the operation?
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby Crockett » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:00 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:It is entirely reasonable to try to strengthen certain social institutions when they fall into disuse or disregard.


Or you can save a tremendous amount of time, money, aggravation and 'education/transition' accidents and just put up a damn stoplight.

They have amazing new technology that makes the stoplight go red only when a pedestrian pushes a button. What a world.
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby rabble » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:05 pm

Crockett wrote:Or you can save a tremendous amount of time, money, aggravation and 'education/transition' accidents and just put up a damn stoplight.

They have amazing new technology that makes the stoplight go red only when a pedestrian pushes a button. What a world.

You want to replace every crosswalk with a stoplight?

Think about that a minute.
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Re: Crosswalk Talk

Postby Peanutbutter » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:11 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:You're just getting this?


Had a pretty good idea, but it wasn't confirmed until I read the emails this afternoon.
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