Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pedestrian peril

Back when I first started publishing my "Dash Cam" series in which I used my car's continuous-loop DVR to showcase what was happening on our city streets, I used to get emails from people I've never met - people who were dumbfounded.  They would tell me, "OMG, I just never noticed how bad that situation was." 

I've got a special computer folder titled "stuff I don't dare publish".  I really thought long and hard about filing these next two photographs, the second one in particular, in that folder and just sitting on them, because I see stuff like this and I get a bit afraid of what the fall-out might end up being if people are really able to wake up and parse the ramifications. 

So in this case, I will split the difference.  I won't say who, and I won't say when, and I won't say why.  But you can see for yourself where (NB FM 270, obviously), and you can see what
Welcome to your world without sidewalks, where our government agencies (and our taxpayers by extension) are too cheap to add a shoulder to the side of even our newest, most improved roads - not even a shoulder, let alone a sidewalk.  The billboard in the background is advertising a physical fitness regime, making this scene just a little bit surreal. 
I can hear in my mind some people snapping, "Oh, now, that's just plain stupid.  Noboby should be walking across that bridge with cars coming up behind them at 50 miles per hour in the same lane - that's just too dangerous."

Really??  What the F are these people supposed to do, exactly?  If folks find themselves with an immediate need to get into Harris County via this route, do you reckon that they should clamber down the bank and swim across to the other side of Clear Creek?  There IS NO other physical way across, except this right here.  This is all we've got. 
Approximately four thousand American pedestrians are killed every year because of issues like this.  We tend not to worry about them, though.  Instead of preventing the preventable, we like to collectively obsess over what to do about incredibly-rare and unpredictable events that take two orders of magnitude fewer lives, such as school shootings. 

This is just one of the reasons why I will continue to be so focused on sidewalks.  Because I happen to think that those four thousand Americans killed per year are worth caring about. 

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