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Community Commentary:

Pedestrians: Be considerate

April 30, 2008|By Robert Rush

Of course, there are a lot of good pedestrians, but the ones who don’t wait until they can cross without making a car stop, waddle across so slowly that crawling would be faster, or start walking when the pedestrian light is flashing and there are eight cars lined up to make a right or left turn are the ones who really annoy me (“City is getting too dangerous to walk in,” Mailbag, April 19).

I push a walk button only when I feel the intersection is too dangerous to take any chances. At most lights, I wait for a car to trip the signal, and then I cross quickly. That prevents drivers from having to wait longer for the walk light, which I don’t need.

When I walk the neighborhood streets, I come to a corner at the same time a car does. I know in most cases, even if I have not stepped off the curb, the driver thinks I am going and will wait for me. I don’t even wave the driver on, because he or she will then wave back, and we get into a contest of letting the other go first. Before it can get to that point, I just turn my back on the driver and pretend I am interested in something else so he thinks I am not about to cross and goes on. Then I go.

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I know I am breaking the law. I jaywalk all the time because I choose to cross a street when there are no cars around. But I have not made a car stop for me in years, and I have not had any close calls.

Of course, I will cross with other people who won’t wait, and unfortunately that is practically all the time. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was waiting for cars to pass and someone waited with me. They always just walk up and step out and make the cars have to stop.

As a driver, I understand I have to stop for pedestrians. No problem. But I wish they would change the law and make pedestrians have to fend for themselves where there is no light. That is what I have been doing for years.

My advice to pedestrians is to think about someone else instead of thinking about yourself all the time. Be considerate of other people (meaning drivers). Stop thinking, “I have the right to step out into traffic and make everyone stop for me,” or “I have the right to inconvenience and annoy as many drivers as I wish.”

There are too many pedestrians with a bad attitude who think they own the road. They probably feel like they are the star of the show after they have made everyone needlessly stop for them. They are on stage as they cross the street with an annoyed audience glaring at them. I can’t stand them.

What I am saying is that just as there are bad, dangerous and rude drivers along with the good ones, there are pushy, inconsiderate and rude pedestrians along with the good ones. Even though pedestrians have the right of way, they should think about not interrupting the flow of traffic. It is easier for a pedestrian to wait a few seconds than to make some drivers possibly miss a rare green light. I am a driver and a pedestrian. All my sympathies lie with the driver and none with the pedestrian.


?ROBERT RUSH is a Burbank resident.

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