Today’s must-read: “Distracted pedestrian laws aren’t really about the evidence. They are about maintaining the privileges of car culture.”

Far more likely, isn’t it?

The Baffler nails it (link below).

All I can say is that I’ll do my level best to make this topic an issue in the next round of municipal elections in 2019, irrespective of political parties and candidates.

New Albanians should be disgusted at the vast extent to which Jeff Gahan’s clueless coterie squandered the rare opportunity to initiate genuine street grid cultural change in spite of spending millions on projects that while needed, like two-way streets, were cynically and timidly implemented to preserve the car-centric status quo rather than push the city forward.

It remains: speed kills. 

Our next mayor won’t necessarily be compelled to tear it all down and start over, but recovering from Gahan’s patented shortsightedness will take time and more money. I regret it, but there it is, and “next” will have to deal with it. Let’s just make sure there is a “next.”


Who’s Afraid of the “Petextrian”? by Jordan Fraade (The Baffler)

The phantom of the “distracted pedestrian” haunts America

 … “Distracted pedestrian” laws aren’t really about the evidence, though. They are about maintaining the privileges of car culture as that culture is about to confront an enormous shift in the balance of civic and technological power—one that threatens to permanently upend the relationship between drivers and pedestrians.


Despite the best efforts of forward-thinking urban planners, we can fully expect the profitable regime of car-sponsored ped-shaming to continue, egged on by news reports that smear dead pedestrians, government agencies that treat walking as a suspect activity, and car-company executives who accidentally let the mask slip when they’re tasked with programming their driverless cars to respond in crisis situations. This doesn’t mean that crossing the street while distracted on a smartphone is some sort of commendable civic statement, akin to how many New Yorkers view jaywalking. (After one too many close calls, I’ve managed to get in the habit of putting away my own phone when I cross the street—and, yes, I feel much safer for it.) But it does mean that anyone who cares about making cities safer and more equitable should be ready to take the side of pedestrians, even when emotional, error-prone humans are no longer the ones behind the wheel.

People who choose to take in the city with all five senses, rather than observe it behind tinted glass, should have the right to do so without harassment or fear.