Monday, March 3, 2008

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign, Blockin' Out The Scenery, Messin' Up My Mind! Do This, Don't Do That, Can't You Read The Sign????

Today, I was not going to the grocery store, I was going to the bank. However, our local traffic planners, who know all about making things more difficult than they need to be, had decreed that, in order to make an entrance into the shopping center which contains our bank, I should drive through the grocery store parking lot. I would have preferred to go to the next corner, which provides a straight route to the bank, but does not permit access from the direction I'm coming.

I'm not fond of what I think of as unnecessary signs, and so, when I noticed that the grocery store had placed two pedestal signs in the traffic lanes, saying "Stop For Pedestrians In Crosswalk", as usual, I became humorously agitated! We have a State Law in Texas which requires vehicles to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, and the store has been there for at least five years without the need for these signs. I wonder what ridiculous thing caused this to happen just now? I visualize a schoolteacher soccermom steering a speeding SUV.

I've always held a hostility for "stop for pedestrians" signs anyway. If there's no sign at the crosswalk, is it all right to run them down? Often the sign will say "watch for pedestrians in crosswalk". If I see one, what is my responsibility?


Bruce said...

You are to be commended for stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks. You should know you're probably the exception.

Living in the city (Seattle) as I do, where drivers are typically considered to be polite, and walking around downtown a lot, as I do, I'd guess one in twenty drivers will slow down and/or stop to yield the right of way when I'm trying to make a corner to corner crossing.

The law in WA gives pedestrians the right of way for corner-to-corner crossings, with or without a painted crosswalk, as soon as they step off the curb.

The law, however, doesn't cause most drivers (including police) to do much more than ignore pedestrians, honk at pedestrians, or flip-off pedestrians, as the rush up to the next red light.

Maybe I should go for a walk in Texas.

Willie C said...

I don't think that things are that much different here, Bruce! Do you notice that there's a difference in behavior when there's a sign? The rant I have is the signs, themselves. In my opinion, they're counterproductive, but I'm not always completely right in my assumptions. I have noticed that deer crossing signs do not really alert drivers, it's the presence of deer in the road that causes people to stop. It seems reasonable that drivers should expect pedestrians to cross the street in an urban area, but I could be wrong about that.

Bruce said...

Ah, Willie, you and I are reasonable people. To many folks, when they get behind the wheel... not so much.