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Bad driver or bad design? North Bethesda and CaBi

Drivers in a parking lot ought to yield to pedestrians. At least one Montgomery County driver doesn't know this. Is this her fault or the consequence of a confusing parking lot striping design?

Greater Greater Wife and I stopped at the "Shops at Wildwood" shopping center at Old Georgetown Road and Democracy Boulevard in North Bethesda this morning. This has the fairly classic layout where the stores are in a line, a roadway runs along the stores, and then each row of parking spaces extends perpendicular to that roadway.

We parked in one of the rows and walked toward a store. A driver was coming up to the corner where we waited. There's a speed bump, so she slowed down. We waited for her to stop. Instead, as we waited, she slowly rolled on over the speed bump and past us.

I made a quizzical shrugging gesture, and the driver shouted, "crosswalk!"

Crosswalk? What crosswalk? Ah, on the next row over, there's a crosswalk connecting the aisle to the stores, but there was no crosswalk on our row or some of the other rows.

Perhaps this crosswalk is there because that row has some disability parking spaces or something. Did this driver really think that everyone is supposed to walk from their row over to this other row and use the crosswalk to get to the stores?

My first instinct was to simply conclude that some drivers don't understand how to drive in parking lots, but does the fact that some have crosswalks and some don't create extra confusion?

What do you think? Bad driver or bad design?

Meanwhile, Eric Fidler took this photograph of a driver actually parked in a Dupont Circle Capital Bikeshare station.

Even if this station were entirely empty when this driver parked here, which is possible, it seems like a stretch for them to conclude that this is a parking space.

This appears to be a New York license plate; if it's from anywhere in or around the city, they'll probably get used to what these bikeshare stations are as soon as the system launches there.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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I just keep on walking. If they have the distance to stop I don't give them a chance not to. I may be a slightly militant pedestrian, but switching to the windshield perspective: I loathe when peds give mixed signals of whether or not they want to cross. I can respond to someone who knows what they're doing; it's much more difficult to respond to someone who doesn't.

by Bossi on Jun 4, 2012 2:45 pm • linkreport

Bad driver, especially if she's been to that shopping center before. No one uses the crosswalks there.

by Fitz on Jun 4, 2012 2:46 pm • linkreport

Oh, and if a motorist yells at me for doing something I'm supposed to be doing as a pedestrian (as happened last Friday at Home Depot in that same neighborhood), I'll opt to take my time completing my task: perhaps drop something on the road and have to take a moment to pick it up, perhaps pause as I look over and gratefully thank the person for their input...

by Bossi on Jun 4, 2012 2:47 pm • linkreport

Where's the third option: Bad pedestrian?

From the picture it appears that this is not a crosswalk, nor is there an admonition to stop. Indeed, oddly, the bump at the far end has a stop immediately after it for a crosswalk.

So, if you don't like this fact then the answer is "bad design", although I'm not sure that every single row of parking needs its own crosswalk.

by ah on Jun 4, 2012 2:47 pm • linkreport

Bad driver. But the pedestrian may end up dead regardless of being correct.

In driving and walking on the street, courtesy and consideration is always a winning and life-affirming approach.

by goldfish on Jun 4, 2012 3:00 pm • linkreport

Case 1: Bad pedestrian. Use the crosswalk. Even if other people don't.

Case 2: Drunk driver.

by charlie on Jun 4, 2012 3:03 pm • linkreport

A. the lot is private property so the crosswalk is really window dressing. Basic parking lot etiquette says you always yield to pedestrians in the loading zone. Thats (and the slow speeds) why parking lots have very low collision rates compared to streets.

B. Even if the crosswalk was legally there (meaning its a public road and the crosswalk was painted by MDOT) you still have the uncontrolled intersection which is basically says that there is an invisible crosswalk at every intersection.

So I'd say mostly bad driver for not understanding that you cross the parking lot wherever you wish.

by drumz on Jun 4, 2012 3:05 pm • linkreport

I vote bad pedestrian.
Stopping and watching a car approach and slow down for a speed bump, and then making a "quizzical shrugging gesture" when the car continues on, sounds passive-aggressive to me. If you don't think you have to wait for the car, then don't wait for the car. If you do, don't feign outrage that the driver didn't read your mind and invite you to cross.
But yes, the design of this parking lot sounds like others I have been in, and they are ambiguous - having marked crosswalks implies that pedestrians are supposed to use them, but when they are spread few and far between, it is not practical. It might be better to have no crosswalks at all.
Parking lots are one area where pedestrians and drivers should understand one another and get along, since every pedestrian was recently, or is shortly about to become, a driver; and likewise, every driver a pedestrian. This story illustrates how selfish and self-righteous people can become.

by Mike on Jun 4, 2012 3:08 pm • linkreport

There are no pedestrians in the picture. There are drivers driving cars, and drivers on foot accessing cars.

The rules of the road, as generally understood in this country, treat drivers on foot accessing cars differently from pedestrians. For example, a driver walking on the roadway to enter a car is not a jaywalker, even when a person walking in the same place for the purpose of reaching a destination on foot is a jaywalker.

As Peter Norton has documented in Fighting Traffic, the rules of the road were developed to give drivers preferential useof streets at the expense of pedestrians, not to optimize safety.

by Ben Ross on Jun 4, 2012 3:14 pm • linkreport

bad driver; "bad" in the philosophical sense.* Rude, very self-centered and inconsiderate in a descriptive behavioral sense.

AND bad (confusing) design. They used buckets of paint to cover that speed bump. Why not go ahead and stripe that entire section between the parking space rows and the sidewalk tot he store entrances, like a fussgangerzone or woornuf or whatever its called. Then drivers would be clued in to "stop for pedestrians in the area" and, if they still want to be rude, at least would not be able to point to stripes somewhere else as a rationalization for their inconsiderate behavior.

*driver may actually be very apt at maneuvering an automobile, in which case s/he's a "good" driver who is very rude and inconsiderate.

by Tina on Jun 4, 2012 3:17 pm • linkreport

I often walk through parking lots that I walked to. Every driver needs to slow down.

by Bama on Jun 4, 2012 3:18 pm • linkreport

While it's obviously preposterous that somebody could actually think that the bike station is a legit parking space (and halfway into the bike lane, no less), I would note that the signs still say that it's 2-hour parking. Common sense should override the signs, but compulsive side of me appreciates consistency.

by Adam L on Jun 4, 2012 3:39 pm • linkreport

Perhaps this crosswalk is there because that row has some disability parking spaces or something.

From the picture, it certainly seems like the crosswalk is there because there is a STOP sign/line in front of it from both sides. The parking lot is designed so that pedestrians cross in front of a place that drivers are supposed to stop.

Did this driver really think that everyone is supposed to walk from their row over to this other row and use the crosswalk to get to the stores?

No, of course not. You're not breaking any laws by crossing outside of the crosswalk in a private lot. But consider the other viewpoint -- did "that" pedestrian really think that everyone is supposed to come to a stop every time they see a pedestrian at an end of a parking row?

So I'd say mostly bad driver for not understanding that you cross the parking lot wherever you wish.

Agreed. You cross wherever you wish. The ped in question did in fact cross where he wished after waiting a couple of seconds for the car to drive by. He can also cross in front of the stop sign/line as a safer option.

by Falls Church on Jun 4, 2012 3:43 pm • linkreport

It's really neither a bad pedestrian or bad driver. Typically, pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right of way. Here, there really isn't a crosswalk so obviously you need to cross when it is safe to do so, as with any crossing. Should the driver have had better manners to let you cross? Sure. But, the fact that she didn't doesn't make her a bad driver, just impolite.

A bad driver is someone who doesn't stop when you're in a crosswalk trying to cross, or (worse) someone who rolls through a stop sign at an intersection despite you both getting there at the same time.

by Cohiguy on Jun 4, 2012 4:02 pm • linkreport

My vote is for cranky (not necessarily bad) pedestrian and driver. My guess would be the driver took your gesture to be the equivalent of flipping them off and said the first nonsensical thing that came to mind.

by OddNumber on Jun 4, 2012 4:11 pm • linkreport

For the Bikeshare stations in the street, it would be a good idea for DDOT to install some rubber bumpers on the street or flexible markers. These would also add to the nighttime safety of the stations, as the reflectors would increase visibility. So I would say somewhat bad/unfinished design on that station.

by David on Jun 4, 2012 4:15 pm • linkreport

How much did the driver slow down and how far away was she?

Suppose the driver slowed down to a crawl waiting for you to step out and walk across and you failed to take an obvious opening; then whatever transgression occurred is semantics similar to often abused argument about cyclists failing to come to a full stop at a stop sign. If the driver slowed down from 25 to 20 mph and ignored a glance from you as you intended on walking forward, then she was the douchebag. Underlying my argument is that there are plenty of visual cues about people's intent.

I think that the cross walk argument is a red herring on her part.

by Geof Gee on Jun 4, 2012 4:41 pm • linkreport

Obviously DDOT should've towed the Bikeshare station because we all know it's only bicycles that break the law.

by MM on Jun 4, 2012 4:43 pm • linkreport

this my be a dumb question given that havent been to the area lately the bikeshare station is, but why is it bike station facing the street and not the sidewalk

by Jerome on Jun 4, 2012 4:52 pm • linkreport

Because one generally bikes on the street, not the sidewalk, and in fact there's a bike lane at this location. It wouldn't make any sense to dock or undock a bike in the direction of the sidewalk.

by MrTinDC on Jun 4, 2012 4:55 pm • linkreport

She was required to yield. While she did not stop as you hoped, it is unclear whether or not she failed to yield.

A driver must stop for a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk and yield to a pedestrian in an unmarked crosswalk. Duty to yield may or may not include a duty to stop. From the story, it appears that the driver may have reasonably assumed that you were waiting for her, as most pedestrians with the right of way seem to do most of the time in unmarked crosswalks.

Most people do not understand unmarked crosswalks but are smart enough to yield to a pedestrian who asserts himself. As Bossi points out, if a speed bump is between you and the car, generally you should proceed.

Traffic control devices on private property govern the rights of way, though they generally do not subject one to criminal penalities.

by Jim Titus on Jun 4, 2012 5:03 pm • linkreport

I won't comment on the first case since I don't want my comment deleted, but the second case is pretty obvious. Before I even read it I saw the New York tag. While that driver may not be from NYC and bike sharing may not be something in an area they frequent, all NY drivers will claim NYC as their driving influence and it is well known that NY drivers are amongst the worst and extra caution is always needed around them.

by selxic on Jun 4, 2012 7:21 pm • linkreport

Jim Titus & others: The driver passed within maybe 2-3 feet of us. I guess the question here is what does "yield" mean. Thre is no sidewalk or any other buffer zone between the "roadway" and the rows of cars. We walked to the end of the row and then basically stepped one foot into the roadway area. The driver was approaching and I think our position made it clear we were trying to cross in front, but even when I was in that spot she continued driving past.

How far does one have to interpose one's body into the path of an oncoming vehicle to get it to stop when it has a duty to yield? In the standard public roadway case, is stepping off the curb enough? Can a driver see a pedestrian step off the curb and then continue driving slowly past without stopping beyond that? If so, what does "yield" mean if the driver can basically disregard the pedestrian as long as the driver doesn't actually hit the pedestrian?

by David Alpert on Jun 4, 2012 7:37 pm • linkreport

I never put more than one foot in front of a car when they should be stopping, for fear they don't. Today I did this a dozen times to try and cross at a MARKED crosswalk in Brookland, and had to pull it back every time until the 13th, 14th, 15th driver or so in line finally stopped and allowed me across. When I slowed in the median (not being a jerk, I was basically jogging across the street), the driver coming the other way, who had started to slow, floored it at my hesitation and passed me in the middle of the street. Given that this is a typical scenario, I refuse to intrude with more than one foot in the roadway. One shouldn't have to put themselves in harm's way to make it "clear" they intend on crossing. Standing at the curb examining oncoming traffic should be sufficient. INCONSIDERATE, SELFISH, OVER-ENTITLED driver. I do agree that "bad" should be reserved for people who do things that put others in greater danger than this, but that doesn't absolve her of getting labeled. The design of the parking lot, by including marked crosswalks, feeds people like this, because they think they are justified in their rude behavior.

That parking job is something special. I wonder what the ticket for that runs? I mean, they're obviously impeding the flow of traffic (bikes count, and they're blocking the bike lane), but I wonder if there's a special fine for blocking the Bikeshare station. I also wonder why other on-street Bikeshare stations (like Metro Center and 4th and RIA NE) have plastic pilons blocking people from parking in them, but not this one.

by Ms. D on Jun 4, 2012 8:33 pm • linkreport

Nitpick--Wildwood may be North Bethesda on a map, but that area considers itself Bethesda. The only place to really adopt that name is the area just below Rockville proper along the Pike.

by Rich on Jun 4, 2012 8:44 pm • linkreport

For the CaBi station, I think the pavement should be painted to show that it is special. Either:

1) stripes centered between the CaBi (as if really skinny parking spaces...which they are) and maybe mini bike icons on the pavement between...even to the point of it being mostly white -or-
2) Some standard color that could be painted as a carpet in all such spots (purple? yellow? red? green?)
3) One big bike icon

Something that says parking..but not car parking...even if you accidentally park a car on it. The problem with many many bike lanes is that they are marked in such a way that violators' vehicles easily obscure most of the markings, such that nothing looks amiss when you walk away from the car. (in this case, the bike lane's directional arrow has disappeared under the car).

by Kevin C on Jun 4, 2012 9:36 pm • linkreport

Re the parking lot, I'm with Bossi, walk on out and don't give the driver an option not to stop if they have stopping room. I'm rather aggressive as a pedestrian that way. If there's a car within sight, the driver deserves to see that i'm committed to my path without equivocation.

by dcseain on Jun 4, 2012 10:05 pm • linkreport

@David Alpert: For the marked crosswalk, the answer would be easy: If you are anywhere in the crosswalk the driver should stop. (With a 5-year old, I usually look for the aisle with the crosswalk, which usually has a sidewalk as well, in my part of PG Co.)

For the unmarked crosswalk, as long as you hold your course, you should not have to speed, slow, stop, or change your direction on account of the vehicle over whom you have the right of way. And you are entitled to a reasonable safety buffer, which I gather is probably about two feet, since it took a statute to give bikes three feet.

What makes this case a close call is that it is hard to tell from your description whether you stopped before crossing the driver's path at a time when the driver could have easily stopped for you had you continued--or did you stop because this driver had passed the point where it could make a gradual stop. I think that once you stop in these cases, then either (a) you have stopped because the driver had already failed to yield, so its too late for the driver to stop, or (b) you lose the right of way when you stop because stopping causes the driver to reasonably assume that you opted not to assert your right of way.

We surmise that this driver did not know you had right of way, or else she would have stopped for you anyway.

by Jim Titus on Jun 4, 2012 10:25 pm • linkreport

This CaBi Station is relatively new (moved from N.H.&U to T&17th). I've seen others in the street with the pylons -- 10th & Monroe NE. I think they forgot about the pylons and parking signs when they put this one in. Needless to say this is bad form on the driver's part.

Prince of Petworth post on the CaBi move:

by Rob P. III on Jun 4, 2012 11:36 pm • linkreport

@Jim " you lose the right of way when you stop because stopping causes the driver to reasonably assume that you opted not to assert your right of way.

But did David really have the right of way here? I don't think so. There were clearly marked crosswalks ... He wasn't using one. While its not like he was jay walking since this was a parking lot, the driving lane he wanted to cross was just that a driving lane and not a parking lane like the one he was exited. 2 different sets of rules apply. I wouldn't go so far as to say bad pedestrian, but I would say we probably have a pedestrian here who is not too familiar with these kinds of lots where there are lanes in them where the driver gets right of way. This is pretty typical in most parts of the country ... Though I know they aren't everywhere and maybe David never experienced them before.

by Lance on Jun 5, 2012 8:35 am • linkreport

Circular logic is circular:

There's a crosswalk, so you must use it to cross the "driving lane" (whatever that is). And since I decided it's a "driving lane," cars have the right of way! QED

Back to reality; if you want to go by "the law" and treat this parking lot like any other intersection in Maryland, then the end of each line of parking is an "unmarked crosswalk." Each intersection of a line of parking and the "driving lane" connecting them is an intersection, and every intersection by Maryland law has crosswalks even if they are unmarked. So if David stepped out into the street to cross, even a little bit, and the driver had time to safely stop, then the driver is required to stop.

by MLD on Jun 5, 2012 8:51 am • linkreport

Bad Design. that common layout is for the convenience of cars to the detriment of people actually going to patronize the businesses. Though it would not allow as many spaces, I would like to see such lots laid out as a lot of "U-shaped sidewalks with the base at the store. Cars would park inside the U. Thus, patrons would be safely able to way through the lot without fear of jerks in cars.

by Goety on Jun 5, 2012 8:52 am • linkreport

For the bikeshare, I think there are really only two realistic possibilities:

1) The motorist wanted to be a jerk and show contempt for CaBi.
2) The motorist was drunk or otherwise incapacitated (less likely considering the fairly precise job of parallel parking).

by Lucre on Jun 5, 2012 9:29 am • linkreport

if you want to go by "the law" and treat this parking lot like any other intersection in Maryland

But, this is not like an intersection on a public roadway since its a private lot. Do unmarked crosswalks exist in private lots? Does each line of parked cars constitute a "road" that intersects with another road? Do unmarked crosswalks exist in the grassy field that cars park in at concert stadiums?

Traffic control devices on private property govern the rights of way

Was there a traffic control device that the driver violated?

by Falls Church on Jun 5, 2012 10:25 am • linkreport

NY plates or not, the likeliest explanation is that this is one of the thousands of DC drivers who don't give a shit about anyone but themselves and will just park (or double park) wherever the hell they feel like it, whether it's legal or not. Every day I see cars parked in, or driving down, the bike lanes.

by Shawn on Jun 5, 2012 10:37 am • linkreport

What is so difficult about pedestrians and drivers signaling their intention to each other with their hands? If you had stopped walking, then the driver reasonably thought that you were waiting for her to pass. Lots of pedestrians who are more cautious than you do that, as they prefer to be safe rather than sorry, especially if they have kids with them and want to set a good example for the kids. If you really intended to wait for her, then you should have waved her on. And if you wanted her to stop, then you take a step forward (but not in front of the car), put your hand up, and signal a "stop". As for the driver, she should have either waved you to cross in front of her or put her hand up to tell you that she was moving. There's nothing wrong in each of you being clear about what you are doing, especially in a parking lot where there are lots of cars and people moving in various directions at slow speed. None of us is a mind reader. It's when people get militant about their rights that they don't want to communicate with each other because they feel they need to make a point and communicating would prevent that. Not that I have anybody specific in mind.

by Socket on Jun 5, 2012 10:44 am • linkreport

@MLD "Back to reality; if you want to go by "the law" and treat this parking lot like any other intersection in Maryland, then the end of each line of parking is an "unmarked crosswalk."

Except these aren't 'intersections in MD'. They're private property and the owner of the property gets to set the rules ... Not MD. And all you need to do is go around to various parking lots such as those in Tyson's Corner, White Flint, AND Wildwood to see that the owners of the property have set up lanes where motor vehicles do indeed have priority. And it's pretty clearly indicated stop signs, crosswalks, stop line in the pavement, sometimes speed limit signs, etc. etc. It's not circular logic ... It's using logic to understand what the owner of the property WHO GETS TO SET THE RULES is trying to convey. To not understand what's being conveyed, one has to be really really new to this (as I suspect David may be given that we didn't have anything like this in New England and this particular lot started off as a regular parking lot without these driving lanes before behind redone a decade ago, so it may not be as obvious as a place like Tysons.

by Lance on Jun 5, 2012 11:38 am • linkreport

@Lance. I hope you do not think that people enter some sort of Hobbesian state of nature when they leave the public road and enter private property. If you do believe that, I'd love to hear why.

Otherwise, the rules of the road remain the same. As on any public road, the entity that operates the private road can erect traffic control devices that alter those rules. But here, the only traffic controls we know about are the marked crosswalk and the painted parking lines that delineate the lanes. Do you think that this shopping center has a big sign at the entrance saying: Ye pedestrians who enter lose all hope of courteous drivers"?

Summarizing: In Maryland pedestrians have the right of way at unmarked crosswalks, and David was about to enter an unmarked crosswalk. We can quibble about whether David gave up that right the moment he stopped, or stopped because the driver had failed to yield. But to posit that David did not have the right of way because the landowner can set the rules requires one to identify the rule that the landowner had changed, and the means by which he gave notice. You've done neither.

by Jim T on Jun 5, 2012 1:04 pm • linkreport

@Jim "In Maryland pedestrians have the right of way at unmarked crosswalks,"

What unmarked crosswalk? for there to be an unmarked crosswalk you'd need to have two roads meeting. There are no roads in that parking lot (take a look at the picture). The property owner has erected some traffic (motor and pedestrian traffic) control devices (crosswalks and stop signs) whose intentions are pretty clear, but just because you think you see a road or two there doesn't make it so. All I see is what the owner of that property signifies with the signage and crosswalsk 'vehicles stop here for pedestrians' (the stop signs) and 'pedestrians cross here' (the painted crosswalks.) I don't see anything indicating that the property owner intends pedestrians to have the right of way at the end of each parking lane. And would that make any sense for a car to have to stop in a dozen places within a less than one block area? No, it wouldn't.

by Lance on Jun 5, 2012 2:24 pm • linkreport

At the least, someone should have put a note on that parking douche's windshield.

by PattyB on Jun 5, 2012 2:46 pm • linkreport

I'll give the driver with the NY plates the benefit of the doubt. It's very possible they just needed to pull over to the side of the road for a couple minutes as they went inside the building to pick up (or drop off) something. There are worse places for people to 'double park' such as in a traffic lane or blocking an alley entrance (both of which are pretty common occurances.) Given that there was plenty of room here, and that the road is only one lane in each direction, if the driver was going to double park, he did it in the right place. And I'm sure the only person inconvenienced by the parking was the person who took the picture ... who of course wasn't really inconvenienced at all!

by Lance on Jun 5, 2012 3:28 pm • linkreport

Except you know, anyone looking to dock their bike there. Who knows that driver may have cost some people $1.50 as they went over the limit finding a new station. They shouldn't be blocking entrances either.

by drumz on Jun 5, 2012 3:48 pm • linkreport

And of course that person is blocking a travel lane, so also putting bikers traveling in that lane in danger. Is that less important than the driver's errands?

by Gray on Jun 5, 2012 3:53 pm • linkreport

They're a driver; of COURSE their time/safety/money is more important!

by MLD on Jun 5, 2012 4:02 pm • linkreport

when in rome...
ny deserved to have two cabi users check in bikes as close to their front and rear as possible so they couldn't leave imo.
first car dockblock-in?

by dckik on Jun 5, 2012 4:42 pm • linkreport

Actually, it would be interesting to know what the law says about someone parking there. I know I'd read on here that you're allowed to stop in the bike lane to do pick ups and drop offs at the curb. Obviously, that's probably not the case in in the CaBi area, BUT could you park in the bike lane (which IS legal, per GGW) and end up blocking the bikes which are nearly sticking out into the bike lane?

Speaking of bikes, I was in the dog park at 17th and S this morning shortly before 9 ... and you wouldn't believe the number of idiots sailing through the stops signs there on their bikes. In addition to risking their lives, they were causing some major disruptions to the traffic flow at the 4 way stops around that park. I'd LUV to see a cop stake that out on a weekday morning. I bet he could reach his quota for the month with all the idiots he could ticket in an hour or two!

by Lance on Jun 5, 2012 5:03 pm • linkreport

Lance: It is not legal to park in the bike lane.

by David Alpert on Jun 5, 2012 5:09 pm • linkreport

David, not park but 'stand' as in a taxi dropping off someone, or unloading a car. That's legal and I remember your saying that bike lanes would not prevent that legal activity from occurring. No?


by Lance on Jun 5, 2012 5:34 pm • linkreport

If you don't mean "park," then why did you say so?
Obviously, that's probably not the case in in the CaBi area, BUT could you park in the bike lane (which IS legal, per GGW) and end up blocking the bikes which are nearly sticking out into the bike lane?

Stopping temporarily in the bike lane to let someone out or to unload something from your car is legal. TEMPORARILY being the key word. But by all means continue with your tortured logic to try to prove that it's ok to just leave your car there.

I don't see anyone around that car who appears to be letting someone out or unloading something, do you?

by MLD on Jun 5, 2012 5:39 pm • linkreport

@MLD, for all we know the driver was standing next to the car with a box in his hands. Photos can ne deceiving.

by Lance on Jun 5, 2012 5:45 pm • linkreport

And I said park vs double park because I'm on a mobile device and every word counts. I thought from the context it was clear that I was talking about loading and unloading ...

by Lance on Jun 5, 2012 5:49 pm • linkreport

The first rule of right-of-way is never to insist on it. Technically, in parking lots, the car backing up has the right of way; but this is largely ignored by many drivers. Sure, a driver can continue to back out of a parking space even if the oncoming car doesn't yield, and a pedestrian can continue walking in the same situation. In the pedestrian's case, though, the cost of "being right" just isn't worth it. Don't you think?

by CJH2 on Jun 6, 2012 9:32 am • linkreport

@Lance: Your disagreement with many of us seems to boil down to whether there is an unmarked crosswalk. There clearly are roadways, in that a roadway is the part of any thoroughfare designed for vehicular travel, except the shoulder.

You are correct that we are stretching the definition of crosswalk a bit, because there has to be either a sidewalk or a bikeway meeting the roadway. But if you look at the definition of a bikeway, it is so broad that it includes any place a bike can legally ride. Still, the statute probably should define crosswalk to more clearly indicate that it includes the extension of any pedestrian way.

By the way, I conflated the MD crosswalk law with the NJ law. In Maryland you have to stop (not yield) for pedestrians in a crosswalk unless they are at least two lanes away.

by Jim T on Jun 6, 2012 11:47 am • linkreport

From my perspective, whether there is a marked or unmarked crosswalk is irrelevant, as from my view, parking lots such as this are prime examples of a woonerf.

by dcseain on Jun 6, 2012 11:51 am • linkreport

+1 dcseain

by Michael Perkins on Jun 6, 2012 12:04 pm • linkreport

Not sure if anyone else has noticed, but as of Wednesday morning, June 6th, (the earliest I noticed) there are white plastic 'bollards' at the CaBi station in question in this post (I'm assuming it's T/17th and New Hampshire, NW). As was pointed out above, this is a new and expanded location and I don't fault DDOT for taking a few weeks to finish it. Now anyone wanting to parking IN the CaBi station area will have to wreck their undercarriage and there shouldn't be enough room to think of parking in the bike lane, either. Thanks, DDOT! And someone made a complaint to DDOT to install these after the photo was taken, thank you, too, Anonymous!

by Clark on Jun 6, 2012 12:33 pm • linkreport

I was reminded of the first part of this post earlier this afternoon on my way to a public meeting in Arlington. Walking along the left side of Carlin Springs Rd, I was crossing a side street when a cyclist coming toward me signaled that he was going to turn right. I stopped halfway across the street as he turned in front of me. To his credit, he said, "You had the right of way. My bad!"

Brief as it was, it's hard to imagine that level of communication in a driver/pedestrian exchange. The driver's means of expression are generally limited to honks, flashing lights, hand gestures, and single shouted (and necessarily hastily chosen) words. That can lead to misunderstanding and frustration on all sides.

by Ryan Arnold on Jun 6, 2012 11:29 pm • linkreport

I learned the hard way that laws or designs don't really matter much when one party has a ton of metal around them. I got hit by a car that sped right through a stop sign despite the fact I was in the crosswalk. While law might be on the ped's side, physics isn't so defer to the car unless you are so sure that the car will stop that you are willing to die for that belief.

by Fred on Jun 11, 2012 11:57 am • linkreport

Welcome to Bethesda. They don,t like pedestrians here. That's why some much of the 20817 (inside the beltway) area has no sidewalks or paths next to the streets. Montgomery County wants pedestrians off the streets so traffic can move quickly through...Bradley, Greentree, Fernwood and all the smaller streets in between. Heaven forbid a commuter should have to stop for a stop sigh let alone a crass walk.

by Bethesda Tax Payer on Oct 4, 2012 2:35 pm • linkreport

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