Readers React: Advice for L.A. walkers: It’s safer to jaywalk in the middle of the street than cross at a corner
To the editor: Here’s something dogs understand that cops don’t: It’s safer to cross in the middle of the street than at a corner. (“The LAPD’s pedestrian safety program is just a jaywalker’s Get Out of Jail Free card,” Opinion, Dec. 20)
At a corner, you have traffic coming at you from four different directions — and one of those directions is behind your back, over your left shoulder. A car behind you could be turning right into your path, and that driver will be looking left for oncoming traffic. He will not be looking at you.
Meanwhile, in the middle of the street, you have only two directions to worry about: left and right.
The only way to make crosswalks safer is to have what’s known as pedestrian scrambles, wherein pedestrians can cross safely in any direction because it’s an all-way stop. That’s right, all traffic must stop at the same time and let people cross in any direction they choose.
Imagine that — people given priority over cars. Think it could ever happen in L.A? Until then, see you in the middle of the street.
Bella Silverstein, Santa Clarita
To the editor: What this walker needs is a sidewalk free of bicycles and scooters.
As a frequent pedestrian, I find going on foot in Los Angeles to be a very unpleasant experience due to the presence of bicycles and scooters. Motor vehicles are problematic, but they are at least well regulated.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation says there are 593 miles of bikeways in the city, which I believe is misleading. There are an additional 10,750 miles of bike paths commonly known as “sidewalks,” and I am reminded of this fact every time I set foot out my front door.
Last month I visited New York, and although Manhattan sidewalks are wall-to-wall people, the pedestrian experience was less anxiety producing. There, the bicycles tend to stay on the street, where they belong.
Would that it were true in Los Angeles. The current arrangement is enough to drive one to, well, drive.
Joseph Gius, Los Angeles
To the editor: Writer David L. Ulin makes some good points about jaywalking. But an even more important hazard involving pedestrian safety in Los Angeles can be blamed only on pedestrians and no one else.
I’m talking about walkers crossing against a red light, which seems to have become an epidemic in recent years. I rarely go for one day without seeing it at least once. This practice is illegal, of course, but the law never seems to be enforced.
Come now, pedestrians, isn’t driving in a crowded city hazardous enough already? Is it really such an intolerable burden to wait a moment for the light to change?
Marc Russell, Los Angeles
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