Monday, February 9, 2015

I could have hit someone last Thursday night

      Last week's pedestrian death on Route 1 in Elkridge shows the vulnerability of people who are without a car and need to get around our area using the roads without safe pedestrian pathways.  Somehow the planning for many of our roads give little consideration to the fact that people without cars would use these roads to get from place to place.  If there are no homes on these roads the thought is that no would would need pedestrian pathways.  And yet these roads are the ways that many low income workers use to get to their places of employment.  Route 1 fits this reality as much as any road in our area.  
     I have blogged repeatedly about the lack of a sidewalk or pedestrian pathway along Dobbin Road in Columbia.  My use of Dobbin Road is recreational but for many people this is their only way to their place of employment.  This reality was brought home to me again last week.  Last Thursday night I was driving along Dobbin Rd and turned my eyes toward an approaching car that had halogen headlights.  You know the kind that are brighter than the normal headlight.  Sometimes I think they almost look like the driver has on their high beams.  When my eyes came back to my side of the road there was a woman walking along the road about 3 feet from the curb.  No apparent reflective material that would have helped me see her in the dark.  Not to safe to be walking on this heavily traveled road at night with no reflective vest.   On my way back home this same woman was walking on the road in the opposite direction.  I would seem that this woman is car less and walking is her only way to travel this road.  I guess in her mind the road surface is safer for her than the uneven ground off the road.  This situation is even more dramatic when we have snow and it is impossible to walk along these roads except in the roadway.
      Having safe pedestrian pathways on our roads that lead to places of employment should be an important goal to make our County more pedestrian friendly.



Chris Bachmann said...

And lack of bike lanes. Especially in busy routes like Route 1, Dobbin Lane, Little Patauxent Parkway/175, etc.

It's also wrong to think of it as people who can't afford cars. It's also a matter of people who don't want cars.

Cars have become the de facto way to get around because the public transportation system is not up to snuff.

Fortunately we will have the ability to overcome this if we begin to orient our infrastructure to autonomous buses that can cover a more granular and diverse set of routes depending on where people are picked up and where they want to go rather than a specific set of routes. Autonomous cars may work for many in the upper rungs, but it becomes really cost effective and life changing for those who use public transportation or want to use public transportation.

Corey Andrews said...

I concur with everything you've said. I live about 100 yards from where the woman on Route 1 was hit.