I headed to work this morning just as I do most days. I ran down the hill towards my bus stop on Cypress Blvd, where I would catch the 28. I slowed my pace to a brisk stroll once I reached the corner. The bus wasn’t in view, so there was no longer a need to run. I waited for some traffic to pass, and then proceeded to cross Cypress in an uncontrolled crosswalk.
A car was heading westbound on Cypress and was approaching the crosswalk that I currently occupied. I paused halfway through crossing when I noticed the driver wasn’t slowing down. The car never stopped, as it’s legally and ethically obligated to do. Instead, the driver honked his horn and shook his finger at me like a teacher scolding a misbehaving child.
My blood began to boil as I shouted some choice words to the driver, and wished I had more middle fingers to extend his way. How is this jerk going to chastise me when he’s the one breaking the law and putting me at risk? He obviously saw me, since he took the time to “mom” me.
Once my emotions settled down, I tried to think of the situation from this driver’s perspective. Maybe this guy doesn’t realize that it’s a motorist’s duty to stop at a crosswalk when a pedestrian is passing. In his mind, did he think I was jaywalking? Does he think that pedestrians can only cross when they’re at a crosswalk with traffic signals?
I began to consider other crosswalks in Northeast LA. As I’ve discussed before, NELA has a big issue with crosswalks not being visible enough, and Councilmember Gil Cedillo has been sitting on his hands when it comes to changing this problem. District 1, which is represented by Cedillo, has seen several recent deaths to pedestrians and cyclists.
The crosswalk I use every morning to cross Cypress Blvd. is poorly marked and has no indicator lights, just like the crosswalk Irma Yolanda Espinoza-Lugo was using on N. Figueroa when she was struck and killed by a hit and run driver last September. With such poor signage, it’s no wonder some motorists may think they have the right-of-way over pedestrians in cross walks.
Mr. Cedillo, how long will this continue? How many more vigils and Ghost Bike memorials need to dot the streets of your district until you put more attention to the safety of your constituents? If you won’t give us the bike lane the N. Figueroa desperately needs, at least give us crosswalks that are safer for pedestrians.
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