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Opinion

February 8, 2013

Oneonta drivers don't respect pedestrians

Oneonta drivers don’t respect pedestrians

I’ve lived in plenty of cities in which specific pedestrian traffic laws are in effect and enforced. For example, in New Jersey, you’ll often see on-foot police officers positioned on street corners to monitor traffic and crosswalks. Nearby, other officers in parked cars await signals from the monitoring officer that a driver has sped through a crosswalk while pedestrians attempted to cross, light or no light in favor of crossing. The parked officer corrals the driver and issues a ticket.

In Florida it is illegal for a driver to proceed down the road if a pedestrian so much as touches a toe from sidewalk to street, jaywalking or not. In Oneonta it seems as if no such laws exist. My son was hit twice by cars careening into crosswalks; I’ve been crashed into while running; and several friends were knocked off their bicycles while crossing the road.

These offenders aren’t college student drivers — they’re local residents who act as if they’ve never driven a mile outside the city, whose immediate response is to yell at the injured victim they hit. If cars do stop for signals, they tend to jam on their brakes at the last second and completely cover the crosswalk, so that pedestrians have to arch into the busy street to get across.

While walking, I’ve also noticed how dirty the streets and sidewalks are in Oneonta, how snow-and-ice-covered the walkways are and sometimes flooded, so that walking and crossing at any time is a dangerous and dirty business.

Kathryn Kurtz

Oneonta

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