Saturday, June 23, 2012

crosswalk dodging

Nothing really makes the experience of walking in a crosswalk as stressful as almost getting hit by a car. Last night while walking near my home, I encountered the crosswalk below, on Ventura Blvd. I waited for my pedestrian crossing signal and began to cross. I was the only pedestrian crossing and there was a single car that had a green signal (coming from the upper left lane in the photo.) As I was walking across one lane and about to cross the second, I noticed the single car turning left, almost directly into me. I stopped, confused about what was happening. The driver suddenly noticed me when she reached the crosswalk, a few feet from me. She was young and had a car full of passengers. She waved quickly, swerved around me and continued her left turn as I stood in the street. I was somewhat stunned and confused about what just happened as I finished crossing the street.

I don't know what happened. The crosswalk is at a weird angle. Maybe this makes seeing pedestrians more difficult. When I took the photo above a few months ago, you can see that although it is a marked crosswalk, most of the marking is long gone. Last night I was wearing dark colors with a lighter colored sweater and I was carrying a white bag and my skin wasn't completely covered. I waited for the signal to indicate it was time for pedestrians to cross and I was already in the crosswalk when the woman began driving almost directly into me. I had 3M reflective tape on my person.

What should I have done differently? I sometimes wonder if I should take more inspiration from Burning Man and walk around with colorful lights on myself at all times. I suppose I should start wearing more reflective items on my person as well. I try to make eye contact with drivers, but in this sort of situation, making eye contact is difficult. Otherwise I can only ask that when driving, please pay attention and watch for pedestrians and other vulnerable parties on the streets. Unfortunately, despite situations like this one being technically illegal (pedestrians have a right of way in California), the nearby police were up the street, dealing with other issues. Most of the time, unless someone is actually hit and injured, nothing really is officially acknowledged, and even then, there's rarely someone around that was watching and paying attention the whole time.

Intersection: Ventura and Campo de Cahuenga
Walkscore:  78
Transportation Nearby: Red Line (.3 miles away), bus stop (0.0 miles away), Hollywood Bowl Park & Ride (.1 miles away)
Walkability impressions: never many pedestrians around unless there is an event going on, graffiti at nearby bus stop, crosswalk forces user to walk diagonally (not the shortest path), might need more light or permit pedestrian only crossing at some point, not much shade, shelter present at nearby bus stop, 4-way intersection with car right turn-yield branch & pedestrian crosswalks at 3 of the 4 intersection with stripped crosswalk at yield sign, pedestrian-only island present

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