Tuesday, March 3, 2009

To Cross Or Not To Cross

The debate about whether 47th Street on the Country Club Plaza rages on... are drivers creating an unsafe environment for the pedestrians on the Plaza?

In a recent letter to KansasCity.com, a writer states:
"Those of us who live in the Country Club Plaza neighborhood witness incidents like mine frequently. Drivers are oblivious to pedestrians trying to cross the street in a crosswalk. Many of us have begged Plaza management, the city and the Police Department to make crosswalks more visible to drivers by striping them, adding signs, giving tickets or even lowering the speed limit."
IMHO, both drivers and pedestrians need to take some responsibility. I've lived on the Plaza for four months now and I regularly--almost daily--walk down to the local coffee shop to work on the book that I'm writing. I often end up standing in the middle of the street trying to make eye contact with the car that is approaching the crosswalk. I've even bitched about crossing 47th.

BUT, THIS IS MY CHOICE.

PEDESTRIANS: If you think it's dangerous to cross at intersections that don't have a stoplight, then walk an extra block or two to 47th & Jefferson or 47th & Wornall/Broadway where the traffic lights will stop traffic for you. Problem solved.

DRIVERS: Just be a bit more aware that the Plaza is a highly foot-trafficked location and slow down. Problem solved.

Spending money on lights and signs to make drivers more aware of the crosswalks seems plain silly. Why do we always think that we should fix things with more signage... don't you see enough of it in your day? Isn't there so much of it that it all gets lost in the mix anyhow?

When I'm in a crosswalk, this is what I do... I make eye contact until a driver comes to a stop and while I'm crossing the road, I give them a smile and a wave. Last week, I even did a goofy pose for a picture while a woman leaned out of her window to snap a photo.

Instead of introducing more signage, make someone smile and they'll be much more likely to remember that there are pedestrians walking around the Plaza!

If you really want to get serious, then organize your own fun weekend campaign where we gather to cross the street and we laugh and sing and smile and carry big signs that say, "Remember that people walk these streets, too!"

Actions speak louder than words.

2 comments:

Brian said...

I appreciate the reminder to take a level-headed approach. That said, would it be too much trouble and money to put a fresh coat of paint or 3-d type reflectors on those lines on occasion? I don't know what shape they're in on 47th, but most of the ones I see around the city are pretty un-maintained.

bigBADbobby said...

I'm down with that!