The deaths of two pedestrians and a bicyclist in quick succession in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood have local street safety advocates demanding reforms and the mayor promising swift action.
After Susan Hicks was killed by a driver while biking near the University of Pittsburgh, this concept for a safer Forbes Avenue is gaining momentum. But a writer at the Post-Gazette thinks people walking and biking are the problem. Image: Bike PGH
So naturally a crack reporter had to interject that, hey, pedestrians sometimes break traffic rules!
A recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece by Ed Blazina adopts the perspective of a Port Authority bus driver who complains people on foot “create the greatest hazard.” Patrick Miner at Network blog Rebuilding the Rust Belt says Blazina has done a masterful job illustrating the mindset that leads us to accept these deaths:
Disregard the overwhelming number of heavy machines (cars) with non-professional drivers holding smart phones, speeding dangerously on Forbes and Fifth. Forget the Public Works Department, the Port Authority, and PennDOT who’ve thus far neglected – grossly – to create alternatives to driving through the busy corridor. Don’t blame the universities for failing to institute and enforce a slow school zone through Oakland, where thousands of people cross the streets during rush hour.
No, the problem – the “hazard” – is all those damn people.
Blazina also wonders, “if these perils of the traffic nightmare in Oakland make professional Port Authority bus drivers nervous, imagine what those conditions can do to regular motorists.”
But that’s exactly what anyone operating a heavy machine on crowded streets should feel, says Miner: