Sunday, May 13, 2007

"Pedestrians last"

There are no pedestrian rights in Baltimore. You may read the occasional article in Baltimore newspapers about the issue, but there aren't many. Why aren't their many? Because the problem presumably doesn't hurt enough people for it to be considered an important issue. The lack of ped. rights in Baltimore is one huge reason why I want out. Nothing like having visited or lived in a place that DOES have ped. rights to change the way you feel about the issue forever. To see the issue in a different light.

If I had made better decisions back in 1993, I'd probably have either citizenship or permanent residency rights in Australia at this date.  Melbourne, Australia was like a dream come true for people who love to walk without worrying about getting hit by a car! (I lived in Melbourne for 9 months in 93/94.)

I hear that the entire state of California has very strong ped. rights. Well painted lines for the ped. walkways, strict fines for cars that dare to go over the ped. line, timed signals that allow adequate time for crossing, and I assume, the little ticky sound (very technical wording here!) that allows blind people to get across safely. (Melbourne had all of this too)

I spend virtually all of my waking hours trying to figure out how to create a better life for myself, create more control. I live on York Road where it is not the least bit unusual for cars and even larger vehicles to travel at 80 m.p.h. Even though there are lights, people run them!   Even when I'm on the sidewalk, I don't feel safe, and it's not unusual for me to walk into a yard off of the sidewalk, because I fear a fast travelling bus or truck may careen onto the sidewalk and maim or kill me.

Last winter, I met Christine (her real name) who stands on York Road carrying a sign that says: "HUNGRY, PLEASE HELP." She only has one leg. She's about my age.. One day, I asked her if she would mind telling me her story. She literally was walking on the sidewalk on york road one day in 1993, when a car came up on to the sidewalk, ran her over, and cut off her leg. You know, she doesn't want pity which is bloody amazing. She said that she's been unable to get a proper fit for a prosthetic, therefore, just uses the crutches. She allowed me to take her photo (with the sign) and everything. Talk about a powerful photo!

I am absolutely disgusted with our lack of respect for pedestrians in Baltimore. (It made me just as angry when I lived in Lafayette, IN where the problem is just as severe) I don't know how often you follow the news but occasionally we'll have a week in the Greater Baltimore where 1 to 3 pedestrians are hit and sometimes killed.

Every time that I leave my house on foot and attempt to cross a street, I take my life into my own hands. If you don't believe me, and you live in Baltimore city or county, give up your car for 2 weeks. Accept no rides. Journal daily on your experiences as a pedestrian and you'll see what I mean.

I just started something new this morning which I have been wanting to do for a very long time. For people who don't have a car to get to the gym or to the park, or to the walking trail (you get the drift) the only exercise you get is the kind that puts your life in danger. So, since my bldg. is so noisy that I can't sleep much anyway, if I want outdoor exercise that is virtually worry free, then it will HAVE TO happen from 6 to 7 in the morning. Those are the only daylight hours where there are few enough cars to walk without being significantly endangered.

I started it today, and loved it. I get beautiful morning sun in my apt. and when I got back at 7 a.m. I walked into my living room, and I belted out at the top of my lungs: "OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING, OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY, I'VE GOT A BEAUTIFUL FEELING, EVERYTHING'S GOING MY WAY" ( DO YOU KNOW THE SONG?) (I am truly at the point where I realize that my neighbors don't give a flying f___ about the noise they make which is why i sang that one line with such great abandon!)

At 12:30 p.m. I had to cross york road to go to the pizza place. A car was blocking the pedestrian walkway so I was forced to walk behind it. Suddenly, without checking his rearview mirror, he backs up! He comes within a quarter of an inch of hitting me. I let out a bloodcurdling scream! It terrified me, and it happened so fast! Knowing that if I express anger at him, I could get shot, I say to him through his opened car window, "Please don't hit me!"

"Well, you belong in the walkway!" was his angry response.

I know there are some people who are lobbying for better ped. rights in Baltimore but it is my belief that the changes won't come fast enough to make it worth staying here. Unlikely, Baltimore will become ped. friendly in my lifetime. I understand that it is very expensive to make towns ped. friendly. Of course there always seems to be plenty of money for interstate improvements and such, isn't there? Wanna move to CA or Europe with me? I'm really not kidding.. If I had the means, I would move to a place where I could walk lots and lots without worry. (It's no wonder we have such a rapidly growing obesity problem in this country!

Any and all comments are welcome.



David said...

California is a lot nicer to walk, for sure.

I used to take walks near my home, but it's just not suitable for pedestrians - as you noted. Even on a 1-mile trip, the sidewalks end. Try to make a longer loop, and you're sharing the road with drivers who don't see you and don't care. I sympathize!

As a former bicyclist, I can say it's not a lot better... but at least you're higher up and visible.

natasha said...

If you want to reduce that 195, here ere some good tips: run in place on the grass, tap your foot when eating based on food (fast for slim jims and slow for lettuce).
good Luck and keep us posted on weight loss!

becky624 said...

I was 195? I'm 175 now, on 6/20/08

elana snyder said...

have I ever met you david? are you still my blog follower? (10/2014)