Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Ethics and apathy


Photo by What What on Flickr.
Ethics reform matters: DC's BOEE, which investigates ethics violations by politicians and campaigns, admitted that current ethics laws "are not sufficient." Eliminating constituent service funds and councilmembers' second jobs didn't fly with Mary Cheh. (Post)

Scandal? Who cares?: Global real estate investors don't give a hoot about alleged malfeasance in the DC Council; the federal job machine as more important. (Post) ... If city services revert to Barry levels, that's different. (RPUS)

Orange line disruption botched: Metro needs to better handle unexpected disruptions like the recent Orange Line snarl at Clarendon. Board member Mary Hynes criticized the agency's performance and CEO Richard Sarles has asked for a review. (Post)

Save money, share a stadium: DC United's lease on RFK is costly and the team is considering moving to Byrd Stadium at the Univ. of Maryland. The university could use some paying tenants to help maintain the stadium. (DCist)

Protestors create mini-city: Protest encampments at McPherson Square represent a microcosm urban planning ideas. Different parts of the square see different uses by protestors. (City Paper)

AAA-OK with gridlock: DC is stepping up enforcement on drivers who block intersections downtown. AAA spokesman John Townsend excuses the illegal behavior even though it creates terrible gridlock. (Examiner)

MetroAccess customers get ride coupons: WMATA's IG found that the agency spent $9 million on travel coupons to customers whose rides were late or didn't show up. The agency only gave such coupons on MetroAccess rides. (Examiner)

Norton supports realtor memorial: Even after admitting the proliferation of memorials, Eleanor Holmes Norton endorsed a fair housing memorial. The National Association of Realtors wants the memorial and has donated generously to Norton. (City Paper)

And...: People will always complain about gentrification and the lack of gentrification. (In Shaw) ... It turns out that photography is not a crime. (Post) ... A Philadelphia-area school has banned trips to DC and New York since 9/11 because of terror fears. (PhillyBurbs)

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Eric Fidler has lived in DC and suburban Maryland his entire life. He likes long walks along the Potomac and considers the L'Enfant Plan an elegant work of art. He also blogs at Left for LeDroit, LeDroit Park's (only) blog of record. 

Comments

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@DC United

Is the potential land swap and stadium build for the prison and new stadium still being discussed?

by Nicoli on Oct 27, 2011 8:41 am • linkreport

The situation in Clarendon reminded me of the Wilson Bridge jumper, where to save one suicidal man they blocked the Beltway for six hours.

In terms of DC, it is very hard to make any real conclusions as long a the feds keep pumping in money. Given that we now think that income hasn't grown in 10 years, those federal cost of living adjustments start to look very generous. Not to mention all the generous military, intelligence and homeland security contractors.

by charlie on Oct 27, 2011 8:42 am • linkreport

Blocking the box is pretty inexcusable. It creates a ripple effect of literal gridlock in all directions, for very little gain to the perpetrators. Enforcement (with some discretion exercised) is appropriate.

by Crickey7 on Oct 27, 2011 9:20 am • linkreport

@MetroAccess Coupons

Why don't they give out free ride couponss when Metrorail is delayed and causes people to be late?

by AM on Oct 27, 2011 9:26 am • linkreport

Blocking the box is indeed inexcusable. The argument that an innocent person can get stuck blocking the box rings hollow to me - the solution is that you shouldn't try to make the light you know you won't make.

It wasn't clear if this article meant automated box enforcement via red light cameras, or just issuing more tickets from individuals on the street.

by Alex B. on Oct 27, 2011 9:27 am • linkreport

"cab drivers do it all the time" is a lamer excuse than the intent argument--that would basically excuse every traffic violation, as well as a number of misdemeanors and felonies.

The intent argument is plausible, and there are instances where blocking the box isn't intentional and is hard to avoid without creating worse problems. But that doesn't mean people should never be ticketed for it.

by ah on Oct 27, 2011 9:34 am • linkreport

Someone needs to alert the school board in Central Bucks that the Liberty Bell, in Philadelphia, is a potential terrorist target. As such, they should not have any field trips to Pennsylvania.

Alternatively, someone ought to alert the school board in Central Bucks that students are at greater risk of dying in a bus crash than a terrorist attack, and so they shouldn't have any school field trips, ever.

by cminus on Oct 27, 2011 9:39 am • linkreport

My dad was ticketed for blocking the box and it wasn't his fault. He's not used to driving in the city and it was the person in front of him who sat where they were inexplicably while the light cycled through. Regardless, the police were right to give him the ticket and while I have sympathy for you if you get a ticket because of something you didn't do it doesn't excuse the fact.

2nd. I'm not so sure if people aren't confusing "metro didn't respond quick enough" with "it took me a long time to get home, it is therefore a lack of planning and is metro's fault".

by Canaan on Oct 27, 2011 9:44 am • linkreport

The argument that an innocent person can get stuck blocking the box rings hollow to me - the solution is that you shouldn't try to make the light you know you won't make.

This happens all the time, not because they are trying to make the light or because they didn't care that traffic was stopped, but because some roads are the equivalent of 8 lanes wide (K St, etc) and you can't predict if you can make it across (without letting the entire 8 lanes clear). People who enter the box when traffic is stopped on the other side, should be ticketed and I wholeheartedly support that. But if I follow a moving car into an intersection mere seconds after the light changes and I get stuck, there should be some discretion to not ticket that.

This problem is much worse around 6:30 when three lane roads collapse down to a single lane road.

by DC Driver on Oct 27, 2011 9:55 am • linkreport

When I used to walk to Metro Center during the afternoon rush, I would see Metro Busses blocking the intersection of 13th & F nearly every day. Wonder if they will get ticked as well...

by GinChevyChase on Oct 27, 2011 10:14 am • linkreport

If MPDC ticketed bus drivers for even 1% of the moving violations they commit, Metrobus would come to a standstill.

by ah on Oct 27, 2011 10:20 am • linkreport

What would interesting in terms of blockign the box is a citizen's warning.

Send the offending plate # into a DMV web site (text or camera). Have DMV issue a warning based on that. If you wanted to be cute, make the warning friendly.

Plenty of opportunity for abuse. Maybe charge for it -- so you would pay $1 to report someone. But perhaps that would be a better incentive policy than tickets.

by charlie on Oct 27, 2011 10:26 am • linkreport

@Alex B. "the solution is that you shouldn't try to make the light you know you won't make.

That's the problem, when you need to make the decision to cross or stop (which given the laws of physics is at least 50 feet of so before you even get to the crosswalk at the start of the intersection) you don't necessarily know if some unexpected event is going to occur anywhere between where you are at and into the 'safe' zone of the other side. And believe me, given the tendency of DC pedestrians being led of late to believe that they have the right of way at ALL times, the chances are 50-50 (during a time like rush hour) that a driver will have to stop not because they should have to based on anything THEY'VE done, but because they have to due to someone else's not obeying the rules ... usually a pedestrian ... increasingly also a bike ... and yes, even sometimes another automobile. And we already have laws in place to ticket these 3rd parties who are the true causes of the intersection being blocked. Blaming the innocent driver who gets stuck as a result of these others' actions is blantantly unfair ... and punishing them for something over which they have no control will accomplish nothing ... other than giving DC driving law enforcement a bad reputation.

by Lance on Oct 27, 2011 10:27 am • linkreport

A memorial to "fair housing"? Does that mean "fair housing" is dead? A monument in the nation's capital for a taxpayer-subsidized, lobbyist-gobbling industry? Are you friggin' kidding me? Keeping the patch of grass or sidewalk so pedestrians can pass or dogs can lie down would be a more valuable use of space. How about a fire hydrant? A bike rack? A community bulletin board? Ridiculous.

by Arl Anon on Oct 27, 2011 10:43 am • linkreport

Sorry Lance, I don't buy it. Blocking the box doesn't occur when traffic is moving so fast and freely that drivers don't have time to react or adjust. It happens when they get frustrated and try to make a light they shouldn't. It's a quicksand problem, of course - the more everyone struggles to make those lights, the worse the congestion gets.

I don't buy your theory that peds and bikes are to blame. Any evidence to support that claim? If you're talking about a car that gets stuck in the box because the peds in the crosswalk on the far side of the intersection start crossing, that's usually because they have the walk signal and the car tried to rush through a light that the driver was never going to make.

by Alex B. on Oct 27, 2011 10:49 am • linkreport

there should be some discretion to not ticket that.

There is always discretion not to ticket.

If cops channel that discretion to enforce primarily against those who gun through a light as it turns yellow, but can't clear, then there should be minimal public outcry.

by ah on Oct 27, 2011 10:50 am • linkreport

99% of the time, blocking the box is entirely predictable and there is no excuse for you to do it.

All the downtown ped signs have countdown clocks on them. They hit zero and your light turns red. You know to the second when the light will turn and yet people drive into an intersection with 2 seconds to go when the road in front of them is blocked.

Then they sit there and throw their hands in the air like "how was I supposed to know the light was turning red and this unmoving mass of cars in front of me, was in fact, not moving"

Box blockers should pay the same fine levels as HOV violaters in VA. First offense ~100 bucks, second ~500, 3rd, $1,000.

by freely on Oct 27, 2011 10:54 am • linkreport

Blocking the box doesn't occur when traffic is moving so fast and freely that drivers don't have time to react or adjust.

Sometimes it does. With wide intersections and multiple lanes, it quite often happens that traffic appears to be moving freely but then comes to a stop before all cars can clear, either because of a lane change or because the light turns at the next intersection, causing the traffic to come to a stop. Compounding this are the large number of SUVs and other tall vehicles that make it tough to see further ahead.

True, this is not the cause of most problems, but it does occur.

by ah on Oct 27, 2011 10:55 am • linkreport

@Lance:

If there is room free at the other side of the intersection, you enter the intersection. If not, not.

Box-blocking is, in 99.999% of cases a matter of drivers entering the intersection to "save" their spot in line, because they're afraid someone will turn right on red and steal it.

by oboe on Oct 27, 2011 10:55 am • linkreport

AlexB, that really isn't as absolute as you suggest.

You can never empirically state that "pedestrians" aren't to blame any more than you can say that "cars/drivers" are to blame. In an environment like DC where you have all modes of transit operating w/in the same environment, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists will share blame.

You can't just make blocking the box a "driver" problem excusing all other factors we know are common in all mixed modes environments. With the number of pedestrians whom are completely oblivious to cars (or bikes for that matter) and will walk out of turn across the street while looking 100% of the way down at their androids...and those who follow those who do so simply because they felt the person in front of them move.

You just can't. It's akin to saying that automobile/pedestrians accidents happen only because drivers aren't paying attention.

by HogWash on Oct 27, 2011 11:01 am • linkreport

@freely- I couldn't agree with you more! If you are paying any sort of attention you'll be able to tell 99% of the time whether or not you'll be able to clear the intersection.

The problem is that a lot of people aren't paying attention. They're not looking at the countdown timer, they're not looking four or five cars ahead to see if they are moving, or if the next intersection has a green or red light. Combine all of these pieces of information together and you'll know if you can make it or not.

by Chris on Oct 27, 2011 11:04 am • linkreport


AAA should be using its bully pulpit to teach people not to enter intersections unless there's already room for them to clear it.

I learned to drive in Manhattan. For me that rule is as natural as how to put the car in gear. For most DC and Maryland drivers, it's a completely foreign concept. They think they're allowed to enter the intersection if they have a green light. It's a major problem downtown, in Georgetown, and even in Germantown and Frederick. I also drive through the Rosslyn gridlock on Lee Hwy each morning, and the only drivers I see blocking the boxes there are (1) DC cabs, and (2) cars in other lanes who pull up next to cabs because the box is already blocked.

Drivers need to be reeducated, and enforcement is a start. It would be great if AAA helped out with that instead of whining.

Yes, there are times when you can't help it (someone changes lanes and takes the space you were headed to.) But that's easily solved: just enforce based on the conditions when the driver enters the intersection, not the conditions when the light changes. I can't tell whether DC law supports that interpretation, but it should be changed if it doesn't.

by Novanglus on Oct 27, 2011 11:24 am • linkreport

@HogWash

Name me one thing that is absolute.

Blocking the box is easy enough to enforce automatically via the red light cameras. And just like those red light tickets, if there are extenuating circumstances to a block the box situation, either a) a ticket won't be issued, or b) the photo evidence will make it easy to challenge.

by Alex B. on Oct 27, 2011 11:25 am • linkreport

> something over which they have no control

Wow, someone is really groping. Ever again, suburbanites want to base personal and policy decisions on red herrings that have nothing to do with reality 99 percent of the time.

“What about the spouses who work indifferent towns?” (Everyone should clog up the roads by driving.)

“What about the disability that’s not visible?” (Everyone make illegal use of disabled parking spaces.)

“My uncle was ‘thrown clear’ and lived to be a hundred” (Everyone should drive without seatbelts and smoke.)

“What about that cold day last winter?” (Everyone should deny manmade climate change.)

“What if I get rich?” (Everyone who works should pay more in taxes so the rich can pay less.)

“What about George and Barbara’s offspring?” (Everyone can see that there is no such thing as evolution.)

by Sydney on Oct 27, 2011 11:30 am • linkreport

@DC Driver, if you are in heavy downtown traffic and the light has changed its very naive to enter the intersection and think you will get all the way across. I would think anyone who has driven through one intersection, like at 14th and G NW at rush hour, would learn from a single experience.

by Tina on Oct 27, 2011 11:37 am • linkreport

I generally feel that box blockers, like double parkers, should get no less than the death penalty, as George Costanza rationale applies to box blockers as well:

GEORGE: I’ll tell you, if I was running for office I would ask for the death penalty for double-parkers. If this is allowed to go on this is not a society. THIS IS ANARCHY!

That said, while double parking is always intentional and easily avoidable, avoiding box blocking requires a certain amount of skill and sometimes a little luck. As such, automated enforcement doesn't seem fair. I don't know how a camera would allow for an equivalent amount of discretion as a police officer. It's not as easy to evaluate as red light running which requires significantly less discretion.

At the end of the day, box blocking's impact is almost entirely on drivers. If drivers are generally willing to contend with a little more box blocking to avoid a potentially unfair ticket issued by an automated system, then we should afford drivers that choice.

by Falls Church on Oct 27, 2011 12:01 pm • linkreport

Re: At the end of the day, box blocking's impact is almost entirely on drivers.

No it's not. I can't count how many times I have to cross the street (legally at a cross walk with the light, Lance!) and there is a car - boom - right there in the middle of the cross walk. The driver tries desperately to pretend that we are not there, forcing pedestrians to walk around the car. Then when the traffic finally clears in front of the car, the driver is stuck blocking the cross-walk because peds are walking in front and behind the car. Sometimes the driver tries to move forward almost hitting a ped.

Stop blocking the cross-walk! You're not getting to work any earlier!

by dc denizen on Oct 27, 2011 12:06 pm • linkreport

Can we include blocking pedestrian crossings in blocking the box violations?

by Jasper on Oct 27, 2011 12:13 pm • linkreport

@Alex, other than death, I can't think of much.

But my point was that I don't think you can state, even with modest certainty, that block boxing is "primarily" the fault of drivers. Again, we talk a lot here about mixed transit modes so I don't see how we can simply fault one because we may favor the other. Here, there isn't a consideration of any other factor than the driver being at fault.

Look at the usual mess of 19th and 21 Streets NW (going south).

by HogWash on Oct 27, 2011 12:22 pm • linkreport

I don't buy your theory that peds and bikes are to blame. Any evidence to support that claim?

One anecdotal evidence:

Frank says:
October 5, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Traffic lawyer;
Regards and thank you in advanced for your time to review and respond.

The facts: I received a ticket in NYC for violation of sect. 4.08 section (e) 12 of the NYC traffic rules “obstructing traffic at Intersection”. The ticket was issued at the entrance of the Holland Tunnel where traffic backs up if someone changes lane abruptly. I had a green light and proceeded because there was enough space for my car (and was holding traffic behind me). However, when I approached the intersection, pedestrians were walking with a “Do not walk” sign and obviously I had to stop to protect the pedestrians. At that instance, another car moved in front of my car leaving me with no space. Two officers were standing at the corner waiting for cars to stop there and walked right to my window to issue me the ticket.

The argument that an innocent person can get stuck blocking the box rings hollow to me

Another anecdotal evidence:

Roger Z says:
January 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

My dad had an interesting scenario not long ago. He was driving his commercial van through the busy streets of Manhattan and was about to get out of the intersection onto the next block past the traffic light when some typical arrogant a**hole NYC driver changes lanes within the intersection, which I believe is illegal in itself, cutting my dad’s vehicle off and forcing him to get stuck in the box. The traffic officer on scebe was totally oblivious to the situation and ended up giving my dad a summon for blocking the box. When my dad explained to the officer that he was about to leave the intersection, but was prevented from doing so due to some jerk illegally changing lanes within the intersection and cutting him off, thus forcing him to get stuck in the box, the officer could care less and proceeded to scan my dad’s registration and later received a summon by mail.

by Falls Church on Oct 27, 2011 12:25 pm • linkreport

@Falls Church

So, those tickets were issued. Were they challenged and upheld?

If you had automated enforcement with a similar protocol to the red light cameras, each case would be reviewed and tickets issued (or not issued) accordingly. That's the beauty of automated enforcement that neither of those cases have - photo evidence of exactly what happened.

I know DC has cases where red light camera tickets have been voided or not issued because of a situation where, say, an ambulance coming from behind forces a car to creep into an intersection against the light - and the photos show this. Or where a TCO was in charge of an intersection and explicity waving people through against the light. Again, the photo evidence from automated enforcement shows this.

Those cases seem like an endorsement for automated enforcement of these kinds of infractions.

by Alex B. on Oct 27, 2011 12:33 pm • linkreport

@Falls Church

That second example seems to me to be an example of someone who decided to go into the intersection when there wasn't enough room to clear, then got stuck when traffic moved in a way he didn't anticipate. That's exactly the sort of instance in which someone should get a ticket.

I agree with the others, in 99% of the box-blocking incidents I see it happens because people in cars just HAVE to get into the intersection even if there isn't enough room. If traffic is moving that slowly it's just as fast for everyone to wait and treat the green light more like a yield or stop sign and wait until there is space to go across. Ramming more and more vehicles through doesn't make the traffic move any faster.

by MLD on Oct 27, 2011 12:41 pm • linkreport

I agree with the others, in 99% of the box-blocking incidents I see it happens because people in cars just HAVE to get into the intersection even if there isn't enough room. If traffic is moving that slowly it's just as fast for everyone to wait and treat the green light more like a yield or stop sign and wait until there is space to go across. Ramming more and more vehicles through doesn't make the traffic move any faster.

How do you approach a 60-70+ ft wide intersection like a stop sign? It's simply not possible to wait for the car before you to clear the intersection. Also if there are already 3 cars in it you have to account for them on the other side so you need to predict for space in the next 100+ feet, in traffic no less. This is why I am opposed to strict or automatic (camera) enforcement. It just either punishes people for bad luck, or it encourages traffic conditions equal to gridlock.

by DC Driver on Oct 27, 2011 12:56 pm • linkreport

After a recent meltdown on the Long Island Rail Road caused by a lightning strike near Jamaica Station, one of the committees of the MTA Board received a detailed, well-designed, and informative presentation on the incident and its aftermath:

http://mta.info/mta/news/books/docs/110929_LightningStorm.pdf

I would love to see WMATA staff put together a report like that when there's a major incident on the Metrorail system.

by Kurt Raschke on Oct 27, 2011 12:59 pm • linkreport

"How do you approach a 60-70+ ft wide intersection like a stop sign?"

Simple. You don't enter the intersection until there's a space on the other side. No higher math needed. There shouldn't be any cars already in it. If you're asking this question, it means you really area a "DC Driver" who never learned this basic rule of driving. And it shows how absolutely necessary this enforcement is.

by Novanglus on Oct 27, 2011 1:05 pm • linkreport

"How do you approach a 60-70+ ft wide intersection like a stop sign?"

Simple. You don't enter the intersection until there's a space on the other side

So, at all times should you stop at the intersection, wait for 60-70 feet and only then proceed regardless of the traffic situation (e.g., even if it's 2am and barely any traffic)? If not, isn't it then possible to misjudge the situation where you should drive in that way?

That second example seems to me to be an example of someone who decided to go into the intersection when there wasn't enough room to clear, then got stuck when traffic moved in a way he didn't anticipate.

No, when the driver entered the intersection, there was enough room to clear. But, while he was in the intersection, someone changed lanes within the intersection and took the open spot he was headed to.

by Falls Church on Oct 27, 2011 1:32 pm • linkreport

I know DC has cases where red light camera tickets have been voided or not issued because of a situation where, say, an ambulance coming from behind forces a car to creep into an intersection against the light - and the photos show this.

That assumes the photo shows it (and I'll bet nearly all of those instances were voided after the person disputed the ticket).

With blocking the box it is not likely to be obvious why the person reasonably thought it was okay to proceed into the intersection on a green light that existed 20 seconds before, but was stuck there when the light turned red.

by ah on Oct 27, 2011 1:39 pm • linkreport

With blocking the box it is not likely to be obvious why the person reasonably thought it was okay to proceed into the intersection on a green light that existed 20 seconds before, but was stuck there when the light turned red.

I disagree. I think it would be quite obvious. I also think that the scenarios described here are all relatively easily solved problems in terms of properly structuring an automated enforcement system.

by Alex B. on Oct 27, 2011 1:42 pm • linkreport

Those arguing against more enforcement pose scenarios where one vehicle failed to clear. The problem of blocking the box in DC is that all too often, it's not one vehicle, it's two or three so that only one (or none) of the cross-traffic lanes can proceed. Maybe the sin the first car is venal, but each one after is cardinal.

by Crickey7 on Oct 27, 2011 1:45 pm • linkreport

Blocking the box is illegal.

It happens sometimes despite the best intentions of drivers. It happens more commonly because someone is being impatient.

Regardless, it's still illegal.

Now, you can do a few things with this knowledge:

  • You can do it anyway (intentionally) knowing it's illegal and risk a ticket.
  • You can try not to do it, and if it happens, make your case to the police officer.
  • You can decide that you aren't able to cope with the risk and switch to the bus.

by Matt Johnson on Oct 27, 2011 1:47 pm • linkreport

The problem are the humans. They should not be operating multi-ton machines. All traffic would move more safely and smoothly if placed under unified navigation.

We're not near that and until then jerks will do jerky things. They should be punished for it.

by James on Oct 27, 2011 1:52 pm • linkreport

Those MetroAccess coupons are actually a good idea, it just seems the implementation is wrong. How about charging to MetroAccess operators the price of those coupons. Surely it would offer them an incentive to cut down on many of their issues.

by Joshua Davis on Oct 27, 2011 1:59 pm • linkreport

+1 Matt Johnson

His comment is the kind of common sense, moderate, centrist viewpoint that gets thing done. Resorting to extremism with made up statistics like "99.9999% of the time...", or demonizing people for their behavior just invites unproductive reactions. It's a lot like trolling, actually.

by Falls Church on Oct 27, 2011 2:10 pm • linkreport

"So, at all times should you stop at the intersection, wait for 60-70 feet and only then proceed regardless of the traffic situation (e.g., even if it's 2am and barely any traffic)?"

If there's barely any traffic and you're driving at least 25 mph, a safe following distance is at least 73 feet (or 110 ft, depending on whether you use the 2- or 3-second rule -- another concept DC drivers have no clue about). So for a 60-70 wide intersection: yes, you shouldn't enter unless the previous car is clear. But no, there's no need to stop unless traffic across the intersection is stopped.

by Novanglus on Oct 27, 2011 2:20 pm • linkreport

I hope the stepped-up enforcement will include ticketing Metrobuses (and Megabuses) that block the box... I regularly see this at a number of intersections near my office, and unlike when a car is doing the blocking, when it's sometimes possible to carefully maneuver around, a bus can block the entire intersection.

by Arl Anon on Oct 27, 2011 2:48 pm • linkreport

I like the "block the box" automatic tickets.

Take inbound NY Ave during rush -- sudden starts and stops, traffic speeds between 0 and 40 mph, wide cross streets, lots of pedestrians, and many large buses and trucks. The Corner of North Cap and NY Ave should be good for at least 200 block-the-box tickets per day. Lets see, at $100 per ticket and 251 work days, that comes to $5.02 million/year. Can't wait for all that revenue to reduce my taxes-- lets stick it to those people that don't take mass transit!

by goldfish on Oct 27, 2011 3:04 pm • linkreport

@Oboe, If there is room free at the other side of the intersection, you enter the intersection. If not, not.

hmmm ... so, you're saying that traffic should treat a green light like a stop sign? I.e., even if the traffic is flowing you stop and wait for the car in front of you to clear the intersection (and 'then some') before proceeding? You know that makes no sense, don't you?

by Lance on Oct 28, 2011 6:48 pm • linkreport

@DC Denizen, Then when the traffic finally clears in front of the car, the driver is stuck blocking the cross-walk because peds are walking in front and behind the car.

Well, the situation you're describing only occurs because there are pedestrians crossing outside the crosswalk and in front of the car. Technically, they are at fault since they should not be crossing outside of a crosswalk. Legally, they should wait until the car has moved and is no longer in the crosswalk. Practically speaking though, if they're going to break the law and cross outside the crosswalk, then they should at least have enough brains to do so BEHIND the car stuck in the crosswalk. I know when I get stuck not being able to get completely across and intersection I pull as far forward as possible so as to leave as much room as possible behind me ... usually there's even most of the crosswalk left for the pedstricians ... invariably I see the Darwinian candidate walking with phone pressed to ear and 'squeezing' (sometimes sideways) between my front bumper and the rear bumper of the car in front of me. And I can't help but think, are these people so dumb that they think it makes sense to place themselves in a 5 inch gap between 2 many ton vehichle where one slid of the foot off the brake would effectively knee cap them? I'm a pedestrian too very often, and I'd never be stupid enough to walk between 2 cars that way. I can't imagine how some people can be. Accidents can and do happen.

by Lance on Oct 28, 2011 7:01 pm • linkreport

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