I was waiting to cross at the 19th Street and Main Avenue crosswalk. One driver stopped. I waved him on because there was too much traffic. Instead, he said, “Step out – make those other cars stop!” I understand he was trying to help. But he was also asking me to take a big risk. I also know state law says drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, but I’ve seen many near-misses because of pedestrians asserting themselves. Is it right to have dozens of cars stop for just one person? – Mary
Title 42 of the Colorado Revised Statues is clear: If you are a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk, everyone must stop or yield. It doesn’t matter how many vehicles are inconvenienced.
If you are within the white stripes, the world does indeed revolve around you – if just for a few seconds.
No wonder why so many Durango pedestrians just step into traffic willy-nilly. It’s so empowering!
While the laws of Colorado are on your side, the laws of physics are not.
Remember Newton’s First regarding inertia? “An object in motion continues in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
In the case of pedestrians on the move, that “unbalanced force” is oncoming traffic.
As we all know, unbalanced describes just about everyone on the road.
And that included cyclists.
Just last week, Mrs. Action Line watched in utter disbelief as a cabal of cruiser bikes intentionally blew through a stop sign. They passed by and smirked.
By the way, smirk rhymes with a word that describes those cruisers.
So let’s be safe out there.
Cyclists, stop being so arrogant.
Drivers, allow crosswalk pedestrians to own the road.
Pedestrians, beware any vehicle lest ye be “acted upon.”
And may the force be with you, unbalanced or otherwise.
Why doesn’t CDOT install a pedestrian crossing at 30th Street and Main Avenue? The five-block stretch from 27th to 32nd has zero crosswalks. It’s unsafe and nerve-wracking because you have to dash into the median and wait for a break in traffic in the other lanes. The pedestrian-activated lights on Camino del Rio seem to work well. – CDOT Misanthropist
Actually, the pedestrian lights on Camino are awful.
As Action Line has pointed out numerous times, the badly designed lights require signs to explain what the lights mean.
For instance, a double flashing red light means it’s OK to proceed if nobody’s in the intersection.
Anywhere else, a double flashing red light means: “Stop right now, you idiot! A train is coming!”
Regardless, the 30th Street intersection was not identified as one of the 11 “hot spots” in the city’s recent “North Main Avenue Corridor Mobility Study” (http://www.durangogov.org/northmain).
North Main has big issues. With 32,000 vehicles using it each day, it’s one of the busiest highways on the Western Slope.
Would CDOT be willing to build a massive pedestrian bridge at 30th Street? We asked our good friend Lisa Schwantes, the department’s ace spokeswoman.
Ever the diplomat, she pointed out that CDOT is a multi-modal partner with the city, but a bridge “is not listed as a priority for the region.”
She added that the department is “keeping an eye on traffic volume and how current signals and lights are working.”
If the situation changes, the traffic engineers will be summoned.
But for now, pedestrians have a choice: Play Frogger or use the crosswalks at 32nd or 27th streets.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you know why the chicken crossed the road.