Monday, April 7, 2008

Pedestrians Not Safe in Stamford: Duh!

I love the sassy first line of this letter to the editor in the Advocate:
If Stamford police officers want to make our city safer, they need only to place themselves at the Springdale train station at the evening rush.
One of the major differences I noticed when I moved up here from Virginia was how horrifyingly rude cars were to pedestrians. I know it sounds small, but it reflects people's attitudes toward each other. Basically, in the lower FC, the default is to hate others.

A pedestrian could stand for 5 minutes by a "Stop for Pedestrians in the Crosswalk" sign before a driver decides that his or her life can be put on a 20-second hold so someone else can cross the street. In the medium-sized college town I went to, people screeched to a halt if you stepped anywhere near a crosswalk. Granted, most students went to class by foot, so it was a pedestrian culture. Still, many people do walk around here, and cars see them as obstacles rather than people to be protected.

It bothers me that I now, rather than stop, usually keep going if it looks like that's a good option. I do stop when I'm not in a hurry or if I'm feeling relaxed. Crosswalks are an easy opportunity to be nice to people, so I'd like to be better about stopping. I encourage you to do the same; it's good for your state of mind. Life is stressful around here and we need little acts of kindness to stay human. One tip: Try to ignore the driver behind you who looks like he (or just as often, she) wants to rip your head off. It's amazing how much emotion you can observe in your rearview mirror.

11 comments:

Lambira said...

I got hit by a car while running up Weed Hill Road a few years ago. She was trying to turn left from Upper Haig and came from a dead stop to knock me over.

A police car happened to be driving by, and stopped. I was kind of dazed but basically unhurt, and they sent me on my way (to WALK!!!) home without even encouraging me to collect this woman's information.

I later decided I wanted to file a report in case I needed insurance coverage for a sprain or something that I developed later, and I at least wanted this stupid woman to buy me a new pair of running pants, which had gotten ripped when she knocked me down. (they cost $80).

So I called back the Stamford police dispatch to see if the officers had taken down any info - not only had they not, and they claimed that no officers would admit to having been at the scene.

Ahhh...taxpayer dollars at work.

So needless to say I ignored the fundraising call I happened to get the following week to contribute to the police fund...

JT said...

Atleast we aren't as bad as MA. I was pretty surprised that cars stopped the second you approached the curb in VA though.

Stamford is working on a city wide traffic calming plan to slow speeding and improve the way people and bikes get around the city though.

www.stamfordtrafficcalming.com

Stamford Talk said...

JT, thanks for the link!
Funny sentence from website:
Residents engage in a series of hands-on workshops (or charrettes) where they discuss the values they wish to be exemplified by their neighborhood, the traffic-related problems...

CHARRETTES? Is that word supposed to add information? I was a French major and I don't know that word. Verrrrrrry odd to throw that word in there.

I'm curious to see what resulted from the charrettes. What surprises me is that I was reading the newspaper(s) incessantly in October 2007 and I didn't know about any of these charrettes. It seems like no matter what I do, I always miss something!

JT said...

I don't think the project is done. Some neighborhoods have had there opening and closing meetings, some have just opened, and some haven't had either. Depeding where you live, I bet you could still go.

I went to the downtown opening and found it pretty comical.

Stamford Talk said...

Do tell! Were the people comical, or the ideas presented?

JT said...

The presentation by the Urban Engineers was great as were the ideas, the group in attendance was funny.

Amanda said...

Um, I'd also like to add "Drivers Not Safe in Stamford". Crossing the intersections of North & South state streets at rush hour...people seem to think those red lights are optional.

Stamford Talk said...

Are those the roads that parallel the highway near the train station, where people regularly come close to sideswiping each other?

I think many drivers assume that everyone else is driving defensively, and that's why they feel free to drive so carelessly. For example, the jeep that blew through the Bull's Head intersection tonight after my light turned green.

Whitemist said...

I love this blog ... I get to laugh at what you all say, but not in a bad way. This has been a big peeve of mine for 30 years. Everyone in such a hurry to get where? Work?????

Stamford Talk said...

Thanks for the blog props, whitemist! I also love reading the comments- some very cool people read this blog.

Sometimes I am in a hurry because I drag my feet leaving for work, because I much prefer to be chilling at my house, but then I am running late... so yeah, I guess people are in a hurry to get to work, but not because they want to be there!

Anonymous said...

Stamford is dangerous for pedestrians because the city is a free for all. There's no enforcement or arbitrary enforcement, at best. Just try to cross right in front of the police department on Hoyt Street or up on Strawberry Hill by Dunkin Donuts. There's no way you can cross. Or just try walking on Summer Street with cars turning into side streets, not signalling and going fast. And there's the parking lot at Rye Ridge shopping center with cars speeding around, passing on the right while the police outpost on site does nothing to control this. What about the woman walking to work at Stamford High School and hit and killed by a Stamford cop speeding around a corner. So they install a light after the fact. Something needs to be done.