We Must Not Separate the Spike in Vehicular Terrorism with Urban Planning That Neglects Pedestrian Safety

Comments

1
Good Afternoon Charles,
Glad you're all right. Quite close.

Indeed, as a non-car owner I walk the sidewalks and traverse the streets of Seattle and elsewhere very much. I have the dubious distinction of being hit by an automobile twice. The first time landed me in hospital. I'm fine but I have definitely become more vigilant. First of all, I don't possess a mobile device. I actually look where I walk to and I endeavor to follow traffic light instructions. I try to cross a street at crosswalks and avoid dangerous intersections. There are not a few in this town.

Personally, I believe pedestrians need a lesson in pedestrian safety. I can't do much about the drivers. But, I can look out for myself. good essay.
2
Living out on 202 in Redmond, I am car bound and get to live the car ad life for most of my commute. That being said, cycling on 202 I've been knocked over by a truck mirror even though I was outside the white line. One day a woman sped past and then as I caught up at Sahalee Way she purposely drove onto the shoulder to block my way. These drivers might be 1 in 1000, but those odds are too high. Let's not vilify all drivers.
3
I've lived here for a decade and have still not figured out why cars are allowed in Pike Place. Why on earth isn't it blocked, or at least restricted to just merchants? It inevitably just ends up being tourists following their Google Maps instructions and having no idea what to do from there.
4
@3 You are in luck, Charles previously wrote a screed on that very topic: https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2017/07…

Ignore Charles and go straight to the comments, there is some good stuff in there.
5
We've been 'civilly' engineered into this nasty Morass by BigAuto, BigOil and BigInsurance -- who're pretty much pleased as punch with our current, incredibly wasteful, stupid status quo.

But, what can you expect from soulless Corps, who's Bottom Line is all that matters. If only they, too, were people -- and had to put up with the crap they deem to dole out to US, then perhaps we might live in a more humane World....

Or, we could take back OUR Power.
6
@5: Nobody engineered us. You conspicuously left out a "big" - the biggest of all Big Consumer.

There's no "power" to take back, other than not spending.
7
"Vote with your wallet"?
Tell it to the Kochs. And network TeeVee.
We're still being socially engineered.
But we* outnumber them, 99 - 1.

.* You're not a Multi-Milllonaire, by any chance, or accident of birth, are you?
8
Deaths by cars are not considered a public loss anymore, it is true; investment in (and perception of) driving does not take a hit after road tragedies. A death by a transit, however, is still considered a public loss, and transit takes a hit in the eyes of the public after each accident. There was much-ado about the Amtrak derailment and deaths (it was indeed a tragedy that I do not mean to diminish), but to maintain the same fatality rate (by passenger miles) riding Seattle-Portland on Amtrak as driving between Seattle-Portland on interstate-5, an equivalent train crash would have to occur every year, instead of once in decades. Still, my family and acquaintances express a deep concern for my regular Seattle-Portland Amtrak trips, a concern that they would never think to express if I chose to take a higher risk and to drive.

When a car bridge collapses, there are calls to invest more in freeway infrastructure for cars. But if, say, a Link light-rail support collapsed (never mind if it collapsed because a car hit it) in 2016, do you think ST3 would have passed? Certainly not.
9
Great writing CM. Indeed, the privilege and exceptionalism that damn us are exemplified most accurately by the white American man in his automobile.
10
HOSTILE ARCHITECTURE!

how about policies to keep the streets clean and safe from Hep A and needles?
11
Every day I watch pedestrians step off the curb distracted and oblivious to the traffic they're walking into. I see them do it at crosswalks as well as in the middle of the block and against the stoplight.

Many times they're looking at a phone screen or simply ignoring the traffic. They seem to expect cars will just stop, even when it's physically impossible for an oncoming vehicle to do so in time.
Just because it's the law to stop for pedestrians doesn't mean the laws of physics are automatically suspended so cars will be able to do so safely for everyone. On a street or roadway where the average speed is around 40 mph (Aurora, for one), it's insane and really incredibly dumb not to check the traffic before stepping into the street. The law can't stop a moving truck. It can only be applied after you've been run over by one.

I think instead of reflexively blaming drivers for every woe in the universe, it's time to start addressing pedestrian behavior. You can't protect people who insist on endangering themselves.

Back in the day I was taught by my parents and teachers how to safely cross a street and how to determine if where I wanted to cross was a safe spot to do so or if I needed to walk to another spot to safely cross. Based on the behavior of pedestrians I see daily I highly doubt anyone is teaching kids how to be conscious and safe pedestrians, neither their parents nor teachers.

You can't lump every pedestrian injury or fatality in with the actions of terrorists and intentional mass murderers. There might never be a way to totally ensure safety from those events. By the way, these incidents are nothing new. I lived in DC in the 80s and we had an incident where the driver of a delivery truck had a psychotic break behind the wheel and drove up the sidewalk mowing down pedestrians for a couple of blocks in a very busy business/tourist area in the middle of a weekday. Some people died and others were left disabled. With all the traffic barriers that DC had in place even back then, he managed to get inside of them and drive up a public sidewalk.
12
Wow, Charles! That was a close call--too close. I'm glad you're okay.
@3 elefunk: That's a good question. Why isn't pedestrian-enriched Pike Place Market blocked off from car traffic and instead be merchant vehicle access only? 1st Avenue has been a mess as long I can remember.
13
I hate driving - always have and always will. This means I have covered many miles on foot and have been a pedestrian in many situations: rural, suburban and urban. Hate to break it to ya - there are assholes behind the wheel wherever you go. If "urban planning" is to blame then please explain why I've experienced such things as nearly being wiped off the shoulder of a rural road while biking by a truck full of idiots as they laugh, or a driver that is looking right at me as I cross a street, in a crosswalk, exercising my right of way - that stops about one inch from me in a quiet suburban setting. I have many, many more stories of asshole drivers doing asshole things from my many miles of traveling on foot. My god this article is a stretch.

Keep blaming things like typical human impatience on 'the system' and you just give everyone more of an excuse to act like an asshole.
14
@6
Speaking of being Socially Engineered:
Republicans in Congress, and probably a few Dems, in sketchy districts, have postponed good n' decent gas mileage requirements for all new vehicles (OMG, you ask -- WHY on Planet Earth would they do THAT?!)(damn good question); so what is FORD's answer (speaking of "Let the FREE Marketeers Decide!") to the Fuck Global Warming / Catastrophic Climate Change?

You guessed it -- build more (and Bigger, buy God) gas guzzlers!
And to stop building increasingly-fuel-efficient cars. Just stop.

Alrighty, Consumers -- it"s on you!
Good luck.
And goodnite.