Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Deja Vu

Yesterday afternoon I walked with my son to Downtown Silver Spring to run some errands and get a bite to eat. This truck was parked in the same place as before, but this time the driver was sitting there too. He looked to be sleeping, so we just scooted by and continued on our way. I wasn't feeling that augmentative, anyway

As we continued along Fenton St. we were joined by a nicely-dressed blind man who was quickly making his way behind a white cane. I looked at my son and said, "This is me when you go off to college." As we approached an intersection where a couple were waiting for the light, the man unknowingly entered their personal space, and the moved a little to the left after noticing his cane. I wondered, if this man had come upon the truck I had just sidled around, would the truck driver have moved his truck? Would he even notice the cane? Would the blind man make do, turn around, or decide to take a risk?

Action like parking a truck over the sidewalk - when there are other , safer options - is unacceptable on its face. You can see the 3rd District Police station from this location. I imagine that dozens of officers drove by this dangerous situation without noticing it and taking appropriate action. This seemingly-insignificant situation is repeated by trucks all over Montgomery County hundreds of times each day. Delivery trucks, landscaping trucks, tree service trucks, construction trucks, contractor trucks. Combined, these situations create a significant impediment and a major safety risk on County and State roads. Acceptance of these practices has the effect of training pedestrians to walk in the street with traffic - over and over, hundreds of times each year. I walk almost everyday - and I come across a situation like this almost every time I walk.

Fact is, if you are a pedestrian in Montgomery County, you MUST walk in the street.

For those of us who depend upon the sidewalks to access our hometown, acceptance of this behavior means peril. Do Police Officers spend so much time in their vehicles that they don't see this situation? In my opinion, this is a glaring example of just how invisible pedestrians can be. Given that some of these pedestrians are blind, I worry...

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