Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It's a puzzler . . .

Lots of things I don't understand: How does the overhang at the Kennedy Center possibly stay up there? Who lives in the Kennedy-Warren? Why do people drive the way they do? (OK, I figure that last one is because they must have supreme faith in their brakes or their reflexes or maybe it's the "it could never happen to me" syndrome). I don't know, but here comes another one for me to puzzle over: why do people ignore intersections when trying to cross busy roads when they could take a couple of extra minutes to walk to the appropriate crossing area and continue living?

I witnessed a woman crossing Connecticut Avenue near Van Ness Metro station today at 8:45 a.m. -- rush hour -- and she took it one lane at a time. She waddled out one lane and stopped. Then, when she saw her chance she advanced across a second lane and stopped again. Now, I don't know if you've ever counted, but there's six of those lanes to get across and to do it one at a time at 8:45 on a Tuesday morning takes a special kind of faith that I can only dream of. There was the Veazey Street traffic light about 50 yards away but no! She was headed to a restaurant and maybe she could hear those waffles calling to her but man, I wanted to say, if you want to make it to lunch you might consider going the extra 50 yards and using the traffic signal over there at Veazey.

The other day a man was hit by a vehicle while crossing Connecticut Avenue close to the Uptown Theater in Cleveland Park and not at a traffic light. Now, I feel bad for the guy -- he died later but not before our opportunistic police force slapped him with a five dollar jaywalking ticket -- but you know, if you're going to live dangerously, you shouldn't be shocked when danger comes to meet you. If you're going to attempt to cross a busy thoroughfare like Connecticut Avenue between two close-by traffic lights, then, like those aforementioned drivers and waffle lady, you've got to have a special faith in your good fortune that day.

There's a traffic light at Ordway and there's a traffic light at Macomb. Now there's a move afoot to stick a crosswalk between those lights in the vicinity of the Theater. I don't know if this crosswalk would have a traffic light or not but if it does we can look forward to a complete logjam of vehicles right there in the middle of Cleveland Park. But then, I suppose, a logjam would remove any danger in crossing the road. Or maybe there won't be a traffic light installed, they'll give us flags instead like at Morrison Street up at Chevy Chase. Now there's some faith! Grab a flag and wave it as you boldly step out into traffic.

In an altercation between a vehicle and a human, the human is usually on the losing end. If we don't have the time to go to the crosswalk then it might be time to slow down a little and take stock of our priorities.