Focus on pedestrian safety, not dogs

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2004

After reading the editorial, "Are you a dog owner in denial?" (Feb. 22) I have to admire the ability of the writer to truly focus on non-safety issues. The stated concerns (stepping on doo, getting jumped on by friendly dogs and wildlife impacts) don't even rank on my scale of walking-related issues.

Let's talk instead about local driver behavior towards those of us who choose to walk legally along our local roads. I don't even want to get started on the lack of speed limit enforcement in this town, especially in the downtown area.

CBJ has an ordinance regarding pedestrian right-of-way in safety zones, also known as crosswalks 72.02.155. It states that "Except as provided in 13 AAC 02.195, when traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is on a sidewalk, vehicular way or area, or who is crossing a roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger."

I realize that adherence to this ordinance would cause many downtown visitors to miss that illusive parking space or cause you to be late to work, but given the choice between scraping doo off my shoe or being scrapped off the front of your car, the real walking-safety issue is easy for me to identify.

I suspect that this ordinance is only enforced after the offending pedestrian is hauled away to the hospital.

I would also ask that drivers not use crosswalks or the sidewalk in front of A&P as a staging area waiting to enter traffic. I don't know why I should have to leave the sidewalk to avoid walking over or into your car. Lets try to focus on real safety issues for a change.

Chris Foley

Juneau



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