Make way for pedestrians
January 26, 2014 12:34 PM Subscribe
How can I start, or join, a public action committee or collective action group focusing on the needs and rights of pedestrians? A social support group or listserv would be OK too.
posted by bad grammar to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have vision impairment and have always walked or taken the bus or subway. I have good frontal vision with glasses, but very poor peripheral vision. Due to this, I have never learned to drive. I live in the suburbs of a large city (Washington, DC) with relatively good public transportation. I have long commutes by Metro and bus to the two different schools that I work for; they are in exurban areas. I am usually able to get to work on time.
Nonetheless, this area is a car-driving culture. Except for Metro riders, the people who depend on public transportation are mostly poor and disadvantaged, especially the further you get from the city.
I am in good physical shape and don't mind the exercise of walking, but the inconvenience of public transportation is getting me down, especially in bad weather. I want to raise the consciousnesses of people who drive. I have not decided whether I want to join a mainstream pedestrian advisory committee (there are many) or join some in-your-face collective action like Critical Mass, if such a thing exists for walkers. I'm aware that grassroots organizing the majority of pedestrians and bus riders would probably mean speaking at least Spanish besides English (I don't speak Spanish).
At the very least, I would like the social support of other middle-class non-drivers.
I am concerned about pedestrian safety. I feel that I'm probably going to be seriously injured or die one of these days from a hit-and-run accident, and I walk very defensively (crossing with the light and looking all around).
I also want my community to enforce any laws or regulations about clearing the sidewalks of snow, whether they legislate that homeowners must shovel their sidewalks or raise funding for public sidewalk shoveling. The neighborhood is full of people who do not shovel, in part because heavy snowstorms occur only a few times a year in this area, but also because they are all drivers and do not think that anyone needs to use the sidewalks, which are covered in snow, ice, and slush. As a result, many pedestrians walk in the street, which is even less safe.
I'm aware that this tone and level of irritation aren't great tactics for persuading car drivers to respect pedestrians, and that I might be better served by moving into the city and finding a job there.