A reader asked where to begin in city government with complaints about lack enforcement of traffic laws protecting pedestrians as they cross city streets. An edited excerpt of her e-mail:
Two people have been hit by cars downtown recently and one by a bus. One was hit just yesterday at the corner of 2nd & Broadway.
I park in a deck, but several of my coworkers do not and they have had multiple close calls recently. Just this morning, one attempted to cross at Capitol and Broadway. By avoiding the car that was barreling down Capitol, he fell into a car that was illegally parked in a crosswalk. While he was approaching the intersection, he watched two cars run a red light. What shocked him even more was the motorcycle cop sitting under the tree on the Regions Building side of Capitol, PLAYING WITH HIS IPHONE, not watching traffic or for pedestrian safety. My coworkers complain the worst intersections for them are the corners of 6th and Spring and Capitol and Broadway.
I would really appreciate the city of Little Rock Board of Directors, mayor and Little Rock police to take this matter seriously. It is becoming more obvious that LR is not pedestrian friendly.
The correspondent suggests a public awareness campaign, such as done in Florida in the video shown above. WARNING: it’s graphic.
The subject is close to my heart. We’ve reported before that vehicles take such primary importance here that the Broadway crosswalk AT CITY HALL is closed to pedestrians during the day. The Markham and Cumberland crossing into the River Market neighborhood is notorious for high-speed cars whose drivers exhibit no respect for people on foot. It ‘s the same at any light or stopsign in town or most of Arkansas. The dominant Arkansas driver’s ethos is simple: SCREW PEDESTRIANS. If God wanted people to walk, he wouldn’t have invented cars, suburbs, freeways, parking lots, big box stores and subdivisions without sidewalks.
This issue also ties tangentially into my column this week. It’s a little about the idea of coming up with a fancy design for a replacement Broadway bridge. The column is more about the traffic disaster that’s going to ensue downtown if that bridge is closed for replacement without first building another crossing somewhere else. If you think pedestrians are in danger now, wait until they try to cross gridlocked Scott Street or its side-street feeders jammed with cars heading to the Main Street bridge. If you think those crazed drivers will stop for a pedestrian, you’ve never been in those crosswalks.