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Jul 31

Reckless Pedestrians?

Posted on July 31, 2012 at 10:16 AM by Kirstyn Barr

While the term “distracted driving” has been around for some time, only recently have distracted pedestrians garnered much attention. A local radio station was even seeking listener comments about it. It’s about time.

While driving and walking in Vienna, I have observed pedestrians who are distracted and/or just plain foolish. For example, there are many people who don’t use crosswalks, even when they’re very close to one. A few days ago, I saw a man cutting across Maple Avenue about fifty feet away from an intersection with a crosswalk and traffic and pedestrian signals. Or people start out in the crosswalk, but then they walk diagonally through traffic stopped at the red light, and risk being hit by turning traffic that cannot see them. Or people cross in the middle of the block.

It’s particularly astonishing to see adults do these dangerous things with small children in tow, or even pushing a stroller. At last year’s Legislative Day in Richmond, a group of us was horrified to see a woman holding the hand of a toddler cross a six-lane street against the light, and nearly be hit. You guessed it; she was talking on a cell phone.

The Town of Vienna keeps working to make walking safer and more attractive by constructing sidewalks, standardizing our crosswalks and installing pedestrian countdown signals. We have plans to create a crossing in the long stretch of Maple Avenue that currently has none. But residents need to do their part. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Eye to Eye Program, a safety campaign led by the Vienna Police Department in an effort to make pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers in our community safer. 

Walk safely out there!

Edythe Frankel Kelleher
Vienna Town Councilmemeber