If the area is this scary for cars, you can only imagine how inhospitable it can be for pedestrians, who are offered one actual crosswalk in a not so convenient spot. It’s no wonder that people began darting out in front of traffic to cross. I frequently witnessed mothers running across pushing rickety umbrella strollers, teenagers stepping in front of traffic, and elderly people slowly limping across 45 mph travel lanes.
Finally, someone in the local government noticed, possibly due to the long and well-publicized pedestrian death statistics, and an eight million dollar pedestrian bridge was built. The Taj Majal of pedestrian bridges with long, meandering onramps to accommodate wheelchairs. Unfortunately, the ramps are so long, that pedestrians began cutting their way through the safety fences constructed to keep them safe in an effort to find a shorter way to cross. The fences were fortified, forcing people to use the bridge for a time, but I have begun noticing the stroller races again.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem anyone took maintenance of the bridge into account. The trash cans placed on the bridge soon overflowed, and that’s when the rats moved in. A biking friend and frequent crosser reported the problem to every government entity he could find, each one directing him to a different office, at which point he swore off the bridge completely. And this morning, after a weekend snow event, I watched as a woman went careening down the gently sloped ramp which no one had thought to clear.
It could be much worse. I could live near the base of a volcano, or a fault line, or a flood zone, but they don’t tend to build Target stores in those areas. It leaves us no choice but to dive right in.