Pride In The Street.

Source: YouTube

Cities around the country are decorating their crosswalks with the rainbow colors of the LGBTQ Pride Flag for the month of June. Crosswalks in Britain are called “zebra crossings”, but that’s a horse of another color, or colour if your dictionary is Oxford instead of Webster. Anyway this is a very groovy public art project and an important one right now since the advances in LGBTQ rights could so easily be rolled back, but that becomes more difficult when cities show support for the whole spectrum of their citizens. The example above is from Maplewood, New Jersey, the first in its state, but it joins others from around the United States and around the world that have put permanent rainbow stripes on their crosswalks.
The crosswalks on two sides of the building where I work are sticking with the usual white stripes, but I thought this would be a good chance to review the rules of crosswalks because it’s a weekly, sometimes even daily problem for me that the crosswalk brings out many shades of stupid. Here’s a helpful diagram using a picture of the building where I work:

In this diagram if I (M) am standing on the sidewalk and a car (A) is coming then that car has the right of way. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been waiting for cars to pass so I can cross the street only to have them come to a screeching halt right in front of me. Then the drivers give me a condescending little “go ahead” wave. And it’s even more annoying when there are cars in the other two lanes speeding by. Not that the drivers are the only ones with the problem. I’ve seen other pedestrians step right out into the street without looking, forcing oncoming cars to come to a screeching halt.
On the other side of the street there’s also a bus stop (B) and sometimes when I’m standing there and cars come to a screeching halt in front of me I want to ask, How do you know I’m not waiting for the bus? And if you know I’m not waiting for the bus can you read my mind? And if you can why are you here and not in Vegas?
And (A) can also represent where delivery trucks–FedEx, UPS, USPS, food deliveries–often park, right in front of the front door of the building. Did I mention that the street in front of the building has three lanes? When a delivery truck is parked in one of those lanes that makes it even harder for pedestrians and drivers because those trucks block the view of oncoming traffic. That brings me to (1) because I arbitrarily switched to numbers and which is on the much less busy side street which is where the smarter delivery truck drivers park.
Knowing how to deal with a crosswalk is another thing we could all take pride in.

13 Comments

  1. Red

    I have lived in towns where pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. I don’t know if that goes by State or County regulation. In both Beijing and Da Nang, you just ignore crosswalks and take your life into your hands to cross any-ol’-where!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Technically I think pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks everywhere, but only as long as they’re crossing first. Your experiences in Beijing and Da Nang though remind me of something a guy told me he heard from a cab driver in the Philippines: “In America you drive on the right side of the road, in England they drive on the left side of the road, here we drive on any side of the road.”

      Reply
  2. Tom Cummings

    Wait, what are those white lines for again?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      They’re something of a phenomenon telling your body to come along ’cause white lines blow away.

      Reply
  3. Allison

    Can you please do a similar write-up for 4-Way Stops? Because that seems to confuse Nashville drivers more than rain.

    Also, lights on when it’s raining. Come on people! We are not animals!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I should do something for four-way stops because I deal with one of those at least once a week when I go into work before the lights have switched over. The lights on thing, though, has me wondering, why aren’t cars designed so lights automatically come on when the windshield wipers do? If people aren’t smart enough to do it let technology solve the problem.

      Reply
  4. Ann Koplow

    I’m reading between the lines here, Chris.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m glad you’re part of my daily lineup.

      Reply
  5. Jay

    Happy pride!!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yes! It makes June a happy month, although what tickles me most is that the cities that have put in rainbow crosswalks to celebrate Pride leave them in place permanently.

      Reply
  6. giac mcley

    in my experience the only safe way to cross a street is to have an italian sister, pre-vatican-ii habit, go first with her hand imperiously raised against oncoming traffic

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      You know, my sister was a nun until she found out what “none” meant.
      Yeah, that joke is funnier when spoken aloud, but maybe in the future I’ll try crossing with Whoopi Goldberg.

      Reply
  7. giac mcley

    well, it was pretty funny when i had microsoft’s david read it, and even funnier when he wouldn’t stop no matter how hard i clicked!

    Reply

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