“New York” Post to Pedestrians: Drop Dead

scared_senior2.jpgCan’t make the light in time? In the eyes of the Post, you’re a scofflaw.

In case you missed it, the New York Post officially ceded the right to speak for "real New Yorkers" this morning, when it printed a piece of anti-pedestrian pabulum masquerading as a prescription for street safety. Noting that 178 people died while walking or biking in New York City last year, the paper zealously singled out one class of user for the mayhem on our streets: pedestrians.

If only New Yorkers stopped jaywalking, the Post posits, we wouldn’t suffer so much needless death and destruction. Adding to a news-ish feature on reckless pedestrians published yesterday, the paper bemoans "jaywalking’s steep toll" but says nothing about the rampant speeding and lawless driving that make the simple act of crossing the street so risky. No mention of the fact that many city streets are so wide that elderly New Yorkers can’t get across during the allotted time. No indication that the Post editors have the slightest clue about engineering and enforcement improvements like leading pedestrian intervals, red light and speeding cameras, and, most obvious of all, wider sidewalks, which hold the most promise for improving street safety.

It takes a special kind of windshield perspective to look around at the vehicular carnage in New York City — the hundreds of lives lost and thousands of injuries suffered every year — and point fingers at the most vulnerable people on the street. You’d think real New Yorkers would recognize that the only way to make our streets safer is to embrace our inherent strength as a walking city. So, I’m curious: Do any Post editors actually live here?

  • Well, the Post has editors such as Michelle “the Japanese deserved to be locked up in concentration camps on the basis of race” Malkin and right-wing powerbroker Bill Kristol (I believe), and if these people live in the city they ride around in limos. Otherwise they probably live in like Darien or Manhasset or Rye or Mendham or something. Hell they probably WORK outside the city.

    I am patiently awaiting the Post article that slams speeders and red light runners and box blockers.

  • Ian Turner

    Elderly New Yorkers can’t get across? I’m in my 20s and can’t cross Park Avenue before the light changes!

  • clever-title

    So, by the Post’s logic, jaywalking is an offense punishable by death, a sentence to be handed out by any passing motorist. To even things out, pedestrians should have the right to draw a revolver and shoot any drivers who speed, run lights, double-park, etc, right?
    To quote the author, “Sorry, but that just doesn’t cut it: [Those things are] against the law. Period.”

  • Robert

    NEW YORK

    If I could

    knit my kisses

    into any form,

    it would be

    the New York City:

    the soft slung

    lips of peace.

    Welcome to New York,

    Behold! The romance

    life unfolds.

    All is wonderous

    in the haven

    of forgiveness,

    the neon dreams

    haven’t passed away

    and all that’s left

    aren’t shades of gray.

    The bald eagles

    are shaking their hips

    over the balcony of bliss

    yet again.

    Copyright 2009 Bhuwan Thapaliya

  • MRB

    It’s totally unfair to give pedestrians a “free pass” or to assume that most jaywalking is people who can’t cross in the allotted time. In parts of the world where people obey traffic laws (like my hometown, Seattle), pedestrians also tend to cross at crosswalks during the walk phase.

    bad driving and bad walking are related and responses to each other. Rampant speeding and failing to stop at reds or stops leads to pedestrian jaywalking; pedestrian jaywalking leads to failing to stop and speeding and other illegal maneuvers. they are interrelated and must BOTH by addressed via legislation, enforcement, and education.

  • Nothing will be done about this. ,

  • Alex Yockey

    I have to say the Post has a very good point I have ridden my bike from one end of Manhattan to the other and witnessed bizarre behavior in every neighborhood. From two women pushing a loaded baby carriage out between parked cars in the middle of the block into oncoming traffic and raising their hands and yelling “stop” luckily everyone did to joggers in central park after dark during traffic hours in the middle of the street wearing all black and distracted pedestrians not even glancing up before stepping off the curb in front of my moving bike or car.

    I have jay walked but never so idiotically as I have witnessed others doing and I admit to not obeying every traffic law on my bike. I do make every effort to obey all laws as a driver though.

    I do not blame everything on pedestrians though. Cyclists, pedestrians and cars are all to blame. But most of all is the attitude by the NYPD that they don’t have enough time to enforce these laws like jaywalking and minor traffic infractions. How can we believe that they will enforce new laws to make streets safer when they won’t enforce any of the laws now? I say the NYPD needs to make people afraid of breaking these laws again. It worked in Chapel hill, NC when they started cracking down on jay walking. I had total strangers stopping me from jay walking with words of warning. The situation is totally out of hand and it won’t change until someone rich is killed or the body count gets to a ridiculous level.

  • Jaywalking shouldn’t be illegal.

    If it’s illegal to cross the goddamned street, then everyone’ll be a criminal. You do not want this.

    Instead, it should simply be by-statute that anyone hit by a car while walking against signal phasing, has no standing for suit. “Cross against the light at your own risk.”

    Then police the drivers running red lights.

  • Alex Yockey

    Then what is the incentive for the city to make it easier to cross the street? When you can cross any time you like they no longer need to stop traffic for pedestrians or even provide a walk signal. The only thing that would encourage them to do this is having to clean up the splatter.

    Do pedestrians have a right to sue when walking against a signal now? Apparently they don’t even have the right to press charges when a car comes onto the sidewalk and hits them.

  • Removing all signals and timings entirely would benefit everyone except the cars, who would no longer be able to move due to the massive gridlock. (I’m not advocating for Gehlian nude streets citywide, I’m a driver; I’m just sayin’.)

    The city doesn’t have much incentive to do anything for us right now, we’re purely lucky to have an administration that’s motivated and is also competent.

    The fix for all these problems is to radically shrink the scope of government, with federated cities like New York was prior to 1898, and with neighborhood-sized entities setting traffic laws for their territories.

    This will happen eventually, long after everyone stops considering it silly, out of raw necessity; when there’s no energy left, there’ll be no way to maintain authority over large expanses of geography. (Or any money to repair the roads with.)

  • Alex Yockey

    I agree with you on the shrinking area of influence of a government but they do have an incentive to allow people to not break the law and if they think enforcement is tough now. It really would be impossible if jaywalking were illegal and they had no signals.

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