I went for a walk last night around 7:00 p.m., using the south sidewalk on Spring, where traffic was moving fast.
At least the police were out, and ironically, my first of three near hits came as a driver traveling eastbound abruptly turned in front of me as I was crossing 10th.
He was being pulled over by a policeman because he was speeding, and he was still speeding when he made the decision not to pull over on Spring, but on the side street. He was paying attention to nothing else.
A few blocks later, a westbound driver turned left onto 4th from Spring. Once again I had entered the intersection, once again the driver elected to make a last-second turn, and once again, he wasn’t looking at all.
I made the loop and was returning home via the north sidewalk on Spring. There was a crowd at the funeral home on 13th, and as I passed eastbound, drivers were parking their cars two abreast, protruding into the westbound traffic lane on Spring, evidently picking up attendees.
For the third time in thirty minutes, a driver came straight at me. He’d been westbound and made a last-second choice to turn into the funeral home lot, weaving past the illegally parked cars and their oblivious drivers, and not looking to see if anything else was in his path.
Jeff Gahan tells us how safe he’s making downtown for all users. He’s completely full of shit, and he’d realize this if ever he walked or tried to ride a bike.
The lighting downtown needs to be better, but the crux of the matter is that traffic must move more slowly. Two-way friction has made a dent, but that’s all. Pretty much the entirety of the grid “modernization” plan (two-way streets) was implemented as an utter sham, one designed to give the appearance of change without really changing anything. Heaven forbid we inconvenience a driver.
That’s not leadership. It’s cowardice. We’ve missed a colossal opportunity, and yes, eventually it can be fixed.
WHAT HAVE WE SACRIFICED FOR TRANSPORTATION INDEPENDENCE?, by Arian Horbovetz (Strong Towns)
… The American obsession with the automobile has opened our world to the magnificence of personal transportation. In a country where our desire to express our free will overpowers virtually any alternative, it is fitting that our cars, our trucks, and yes, our coveted SUVs have taken center stage in the definition of who we are for nearly a century. The future of our hometowns, the safety of our families, the infrastructure we cannot maintain… all of these considerations have taken a “back seat” to our unwavering addiction… the 2500 pound vehicles of mobility we inhabit every day.
Let me take a step back for a moment. Believe it or not, this is not an indictment of the American automobile. We live in a country built on free choice, and who am I to question this American right to personal freedom?
Rather, my motive here is to ask everyone who’s gotten this far without clicking the “x” in the top corner of your screen to have a conversation with yourself. My hope is that anyone who is reading this stops, just for a moment, and really questions what we have given up for the proliferation of one of the most iconic symbol of American freedom. It’s not the American flag that sets us apart from the rest of the world… it’s the automobile. We drive more than any other country in the world despite growing data that shows that this fact likely has more detrimental long term consequences than positive ones. Here’s why we need to ask ourselves… was it worth it? …