Saturday, July 18, 2009

Notes on a walk...

I went for a walk to get coffee. On Jane Street, just above Bloor, a crosswalk serves the students of St. Pius X school. I pushed the button, held up my hand-- and two cars promptly zoomed through the crosswalk. The first might have had an excuse; perhaps the driver found themselves too close to the intersection when I pushed the button. The second I can only fault for not paying attention (in fairness, most of us have committed this particular offence). I looked to see if the lights on the crosswalk had some problem, then waited until I saw vehicles approaching from both sides visibly slowing down.

I have often thought that if drivers need a reason, beyond the law and simple decency, for taking care at crosswalks, they should consider the following: because pedestrians face such serious consequences if a driver does not stop at a crosswalk, pedestrians will wait to cross until they see cars slowing down. That, of course, delays traffic. And the more drivers breeze through crosswalks, the more pedestrians will wait, just to make sure drivers have really prepared to stop. The more pedestrians do that, the more traffic gets delayed. So if you want to get somewhere on the roads in Toronto in a car, pay attention to the crosswalks and stop.

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