Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Per Car Pedestrian Limit

restore the balance between prioritizing pedestrian vs automotive traffic
  [vote for,

Ok, I'm going to say up front what this post is. It is a rant, followed by a legitimate idea thought of while ranting about the problem in my car. To understand the motivation behind the idea, you just have to hear the rant first. If you prefer your HB reading experience to be light on rants, skip the next paragraph, and it'll be rant free from there on.

So I was driving down the main road that cuts through the Gonzaga University campus. I drive down this road frequently, for both business and personal travel. There are crosswalks at each of 8 intersections along this annoyingly-long stretch of road, 2 at each intersection in fact. During certain times of day, this stretch of road becomes heavily congested with motorized traffic, and also heavily congested with pedestrian traffic. Now, we all know what a crosswalk means. It means pedestrians have the legal right of way and a car can't move until there are no pedestrians in the crosswalk. There is no burden upon the pedestrians to look around and realize that car has been stopped for over 5 minutes waiting for an unending stream of college students and let the poor car pass. Oh no.

End rant. Deep breath in... deep breath out. Ok.

So the idea is a change in right-of-way law to only require a vehicle to allow up to 5 pedestrians to cross before said vehicle can cross. So in a long line of pedestrians, every 5 must stop and let one car cross in each direction, if cars are waiting. Should speed things up a bit and restore a bit of fairness to the system. That is all.

21 Quest, Apr 08 2013


       What happens if a pedestrian mis-counts the people in front of him? Would women with pushchairs count as two?

       Surely on busy streets, crossing lights are normally used that balance pedestrian and traffic rights of way?
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 08 2013

       If you can't count 5, you shouldn't be out in public without supervision. And this is for crossings that don't have lights. I'd say a pushchair counts as two.
21 Quest, Apr 08 2013

       Because of the wording of the title, I'm waiting for the Borg to associate this Idea with something known as a "bag limit"
Vernon, Apr 08 2013

       I hate to say this, but cars don't have any more right to the road than the pedestrians. Or cyclists. Or skateboarders. If it's really a problem for you, route around the pedestrian area.

       If you need to get somewhere inside it, park on the fringes and become one of the pedestrians.

       As MB said, if it's really causing traffic problems (as opposed to just delaying you for a minute or two) petition the town/university (depending on whose road it is) to put in a light, or under/overpass as appropriate.

       And as far as counting to five (or ten, or twenty), pedestrians aren't a single file line. If four step off the curb at once (from one direction) and three step of the curb from the other, which two are required to step back and let the others go? And how long is that going to take to negotiate while you're waiting on people standing in the middle of the lane?
MechE, Apr 08 2013

       Like many such laws, it should be a 'use your best judgement' kind of law.
21 Quest, Apr 08 2013

       Ah yes, the old "saunter-by" shooting scenario.

       The annoyance is more probably from the feeling of being swarmed than from lost time... so the obvious solution is to electrify the body panels.
FlyingToaster, Apr 08 2013

       //I hate to say this, but cars don't have any more right to the road than the pedestrians. Or cyclists.//

       By that logic shouldn't cars have just as much of a right to use the road as pedestrians? 21 is even offering pedestrian a 5:1 advantage over cars. That seems fair to me especially since, logically, cars should have the rught of way. Think about it - cars sittin in line cause traffic backups, burn gas, hurt the environment and a distrcte driver can easily kill a pedestrian even if they do have the right of way.
DIYMatt, Apr 08 2013

       //It means pedestrians have the legal right of way and a car can't move until there are no pedestrians in the crosswalk.//

       I don't know about your local laws, but in Californee at least that's not exactly true. You can proceed through a crosswalk as long as you're not interfering with or endangering any pedestrians in the crosswalk. So if a pedestrian is a good twenty yards away and there's no way he or she will get to you before you completely pass, you can drive on through. Likewise, if the only pedestrian in the crosswalk has already crossed past your vehicle's path, you may proceed with impunity.

       Anyway, as others have pointed out, there are far better solutions to this problem, and no pedestrian—least of all a bunch of college students—is going to bother obeying this law since it's effectively unenforceable anyway (Some cop is going to sit there at the intersection counting the number of pedestrians crossing and determining which one was sixth in line? Yeah right.) If it's at an intersection, simply make it a controlled intersection and problem solved. If it's just a crosswalk in the middle of a stretch of road, put in a light that goes from green to flashing red when the crossing button is pushed.
ytk, Apr 08 2013

       In Maine the protocol is that a pedestrian must stop at the curb before entering the crosswalk and a driver must stop for a pedestrian who is at the curb or in the crosswalk. Maine, however, does not suffer from a great deal of crosswalk congestion. In rural areas there is no clearly defined pedestrian crossing protocol that I'm aware of, but in speed limit zones of 35mph or less use of the crosswalk protocol is common practice. My town, for instance, has three crosswalks, but we mostly just cross wherever our paths intersect the road and people mostly aren't run down like roadkill.
Alterother, Apr 08 2013

       "I met her on a crossing and my car stood still.
da do, rant, rant, rant, do do, rant, rant"

       (sung to tune of famous Crystals song of 1963)
xenzag, Apr 08 2013

       //stopped for over 5 minutes// Oh, you poor dear.
Wrongfellow, Apr 08 2013

       There are a lot of laws which are supposedly unenforceable. Doesn't mean they're bad laws.
21 Quest, Apr 08 2013

       I've looked but am unable to find the link to the student stunt where they kept going through the crosswalk, down the stairs to the subterranean crossing, back to the other side and up and across again, in an endless loop, some changing shirts on the way to further the illusion.
normzone, Apr 08 2013

       I confess, I did think "bag limit" when I read the title.

       No kittens or ferrets for me, I prefer a puppy.

       Airedale, please.
whlanteigne, Apr 08 2013

       Cow-catcher on the front of the car. These are just Gonzaga students, after all...
RayfordSteele, Apr 09 2013


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