About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mandatory Lawbreaking

So I am at a hotel in Matamoras, PA, off of I-84, in a shopping area on a  multi-lane shopping strip, around a half mile from the old downtown where the same road is an old-fashioned two-lane main street. I want to walk downtown to buy a newspaper.  Now, in the tradition of bad car-centered development, the sidewalk ends at the edge of the old downtown. The extension of the highway has a nice wide shoulder and isn't unsafe to walk on, per se, but it is clear nobody thought anyone might ever want to walk from downtown to shop at the K-Mart. No sidewalk, no crosswalk, no walk signals, not a single thing about the road is designed with a second of thought for the pedestrian.  In fact, at the stoplights there are signs going all four ways that forbid pedestrian crossings in any direction.  (Or would, except that the red cross-hatch has faded off many of the signs) Unless there is some secret unmarked back way, there is no legal way for a pedestrian to get from here to there.  This isn't about pedestrian safety. This is about city officials realizing they are idiots who are going to have people die on their streets because they haven't done a single thing to make them walkable, and hoping that by forbidding all pedestrian crossings at any intersection that they can get out of liability in the inevitable lawsuits.  Shameful

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