Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Inconvenient Pedestrian

The City of Tallahassee is spending a large amount of money building a new network of sidewalks to make Tallahassee more "pedestrian friendly."  One of these sidewalks goes along Seventh Avenue. The sidewalk is not finished due to several very dangerous construction holes around storm drains. There are numerous barriers telling pedestrians that the sidewalk is still officially closed. Today, as I was getting ready to turn onto Seventh Avenue, a pedestrian, who should not have been there in the first place, and gabbing away on his cell phone, stepped directly in front of my car just before I hit the gas pedal.

So, City of Tallahassee safety planners, have you considered the possibility that

Better Sidewalks MEAN More Aggressive and Less Attentive Pedestrians WHICH MEANS More (Not Fewer) Pedestrian Deaths and Injuries?

Let's hope there isn't a Ph.D. dissertation in someone's future on this proving another example of good intentions having tragic unintended consequences.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Mark, I agree with your belief that it would decrease pedestrian safety but it would be a difficult question to answer empirically, right?

The fact that there is a sidewalk in place will almost certainly increase the number of people walking on the next to the road. Unless you had a good measure of the number of people walking pre-sidewalk that would be tough to answer.

It would be interesting to see a dissertation written on this though. An ambitious grad student could find out which areas people are asking for sidewalks (probably through a local city hall meeting), chart the foot traffic in those areas pre-sidewalk and then wait for the installation of new sidewalks.