We Need To Walk.

IMG_3138Recently Nashville’s Channel 2 News did a story about pedestrians. More than one-hundred and twenty pedestrians and bicyclists were killed in 2015. I didn’t get interviewed for the story even though I’m an amateur professional expert on local transportation and they filmed it right in front of the building where I work. I think I was too busy working. I can relate to a lot of what the interviewees said. At least once a week while I’m waiting to cross the street a car in the lane closest to me will come to a screeching halt and the driver will give me that condescending little hand wave, oblivious to the fact that there are cars speeding by in the other two lanes. And then the driver will get impatient, give me the not-so-condescending finger, and peel out, leaving me to wait until I have the right of way. Or when a delivery truck is parked right in front of my building, blocking the view of the other two lanes, I’ll just go the long way around–through a parking lot where I have to dodge drivers who don’t bother to look when they pull out. A few blocks away there’s an intersection with a traffic light where a friend of mine was hit by a driver who didn’t think the red light applied to him. My friend survived but the accident caused some memory loss, so some of us put together a care package that included a DVD of Total Recall, but that’s another story.

And I know that a guaranteed way to start a fight on the internet is to post any story about a pedestrian or bicyclist being hit or almost hit by a car with people in the comments section quickly veering off-topic to compare each other to Tamerlane, sniping about who believes the Earth is only forty-two years old and banana-shaped, and resorting to everything from cogito in absentia attacks to tin man fallacies.

With that in mind I’m going to take a firmly ambivalent stand in favor of the drivers because I’ve seen some fellow pedestrians do some really stupid things. I’ve seen people step off the sidewalk and stare down oncoming traffic and run out in the middle of the street mid-block. I know Nashville is not pedestrian-friendly. It’s not like New York City where having a license and car is more of a burden than a convenience. When I didn’t have a license people regarded me with suspicion and assumed I must have had one at one time and got it taken away for doing Dukes of Hazard-type stunts in a stolen minivan. And in spite of the addition of bicycle lanes and even bicycles you can rent most of the city isn’t really bike-friendly. The buses have bike-racks that only hold one bicycle at a time because the idea that more than one cyclist would need to take a bus at any time is almost as ludicrous as the addition of bike lanes because all the bicyclists I see use the sidewalks. I love it when I’m walking along and they come up behind me and scream at me to get out of their way.

Hey, the roads and sidewalks are there for all of us and we all have to use them responsibly. Now let the comments section fight commence.

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10 Comments

  1. Sandra

    I think you know Christopher your friends here are a pretty agreeable bunch so the most we’d do is make phallic jokes about those who think the earth is banana shaped rather than have an all out war on pedestrians vs. Drivers. Personally if you’ve made it home alive at the end of the day, it’s a bonus for the world in general….and yeah, with the amount of experience you have with public transit, I’m a little disappointed you weren’t on the news all spiffy-like giving your very experienced point of view.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yes, this bunch is definitely agreeable and I’m really not a fan of arguments. On the other hand I am a huge fan of phallic jokes. The annoying thing about that news report is I could have been featured in it if I’d just stepped outside at the right time, but I’ll settle for making it home alive. And if I don’t make it home alive hopefully that’ll at least be an interesting story.

      Reply
  2. Margot

    The people who run Nashville are nothing but a bunch of #%@*& Timberlake idiots. Clearly 120 pedestrians didn’t really die—that’s nothing but a hoax created by the government to take away our guns. Show me their birth and death certificates. Next they’re probably going to force us all into homosexual marriages.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Hey, I think it’s a hoax by the government to take away our cars. And what’s with those bikes you can share? This is what our taxpayer dollars are going for–bikes? Sure it’s a $5 fee to use those city bikes but it’s still a bunch of freeloaders taking advantage of a free government giveaway.
      I say we protest by parking in the middle of the street.

      Reply
      1. Margot

        Wait! What?! Are you saying that tax payers’ money is being given to a bunch of fools who just want to play on bikes all day instead of getting jobs, like decent Americans? That is coming dangerously close to socialism, my friend. Protesting by parking in the middle of the street is a wonderful idea.

        I have an idea for what to do about those pesky pedestrians who don’t follow the rules of the road and are probably in cahoots with the government hoaxers who are trying to take our cars. Anyone who has a valid drivers license, and who can prove they commute in CARS, should be allowed and encouraged to drive with guns. They can help the police enforce the law and then maybe we wouldn’t need so many overpaid police officers. A drivers license is like a background check and a mental health assessment in one. I firmly believe that the only way to stop a bad pedestrian (e.g. a jaywalker) is with a good driver who is armed.

        Reply
        1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

          Yes! We need to follow California’s example.

          Reply
    2. Gina W.

      Bwahahaha! Margot, you write the best comments. Of course, Christopher ain’t so shabby either (at comment or posts). Reading the comment section really is the icing on the cake. Mmmmmmmm… cake.

      Reply
      1. Margot

        Thanks Gina! I’m just trying my best to start a fight.

        Reply
  3. Ann Koplow

    No fights here. I’m just glad, as always, to stroll through, enjoying the scenery.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the scenery. Perhaps it’s just as well that there’s no fighting, although perhaps I should have referred to this for some tips on starting one.

      Reply

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