I typically enjoy my commute to work. I have at a minimum 5 alternative modes of transportation that get me door to door under 45 minutes. I can take multiple CTA lines, a Metra train, a bus, or ride my bicycle. All of these modes of transportation incorporate my favorite and most common form of transportation, walking. Since “road rage” is a well known phenomenon for car travel, I wanted to shed some light on the ridiculous scenarios I see as a pedestrian. I don’t think “sidewalk rage” has gone mainstream yet but it does exist. Some scenarios are funny, some are scary to witness, and some are just plain annoying.This is the first blog entry that is part of a series.
I will continue to add new, even more frustrating, ped-peeves throughout the year.
Ped-Peeve #01 – Failed red-light charge.
Intersections are where pedestrians and vehicles have the most direct conflict. If I sit at an intersection for five minutes, someone will always try to beat a red light, fail, and then block the intersection for vehicles in the travel lanes and pedestrians in the crosswalks. It astounds me how often it happens but I can’t make my three and a half block walk from my train to my office without seeing it at least once. Many communities are making it more and more difficult for vehicles to create these vehicular/pedestrian conflicts by installing red light cameras, crosswalk safety enhancements, and establishing pedestrian awareness programs.
Ped-Peeve #02 – The run of the bicycles and scooters.
This one should go without saying but every once in a while I feel like I’m in the “running of the bulls” as I am surrounded by bicyclist and scooterists who feel they have complete control over their surroundings (they don’t, on a sidewalk you have no idea what a pedestrian will do next). On a sidewalk, pedestrians should feel safe and separate from street traffic. They should not have to contend with fast moving, unpredictable wheeled modes of transportation. This is a reasonable request. In many places, bicyclists are not permitted to ride on the sidewalk. In my neighborhood we have an extensive bike route system, many with designated bike lanes where bicyclists are required to follow the laws of the road. Bicyclists expect pedestrians to stay out of their bike lanes, so they should return the favor and stay off the sidewalks.
Ped-Peeve #03 – Umbrellas at large.
No one likes walking in the rain on their way to work. Actually, I do but I know I am weird. Sensible people carry umbrellas. They carry those small, collapsible, use me five times umbrellas and I will break umbrellas. Then there’s that guy carrying an umbrella made for the strong winds of Pebble Beach Golf Club. This umbrella can take a class 5 hurricane with ease and it only takes up the entire sidewalk. I guess it’s a small sacrifice to make, but he’s not the one taking jabs to the eye as he carries his umbrella low enough to keep his shoe laces dry. I think the target umbrella diameter max’s out at just keeping your shoulders dry, everything is fair game for the rain.