Hey pedestrian activists, stop being so dramatic

Oct 17, 2017, 6:56 AM | Updated: 2:39 pm
(KIRO Radio)...
(KIRO Radio)
(KIRO Radio)

An anonymous group of overly dramatic activists is taking issue with the Seattle Department of Transportation. While their concerns are not completely without merit, they’d be better served if they weren’t such insufferable whiners.

A number of stickers have been illegally posted on pedestrian call buttons along Mercer Street. They read: “Seattle made me beg to cross this street.” The organization claiming the stickers is the Seattle Department of Transformation. You’d know that if they didn’t “inexcusably” forget to add their name to the stickers. Dopes. Their membership is anonymous but likely filled with the same small, but vocal, group of Twitter activists who try to gang up and bully people with opinions that differ from their own.

What’s worse is the removal of the stickers is rather costly.

“We estimate a cost of $300 per intersection for sticker removal,” SDOT Communications Director Mafara Hobson told me via email. “The crosswalk buttons help residents who have vision and hearing accessibility needs cross the street safely. The sticker may interfere with individuals with vision issues ability to properly feel and locate the push button. We totally appreciate the humor and the passion driving this campaign, but we also ask Seattleites to be considerate of our neighbors with disabilities who use crosswalk buttons as a means to safely navigate the city.”

Speaking to The Stranger’s Charles Mudede via email, the group claims:

We are tired of the City of Seattle’s anemic-at-best implementation of #VisionZero and complete lack of political will to make the on-the-ground changes needed to back up political statements about prioritizing transit/walking/bicycling/safety.

Their point is, of course, ludicrous. Non-car modes of transportation are given a disproportionate amount of attention from the City, despite their impact on traffic. And SDOT and the city implement policies to the detriment of traffic.

But let’s address the point of the stickers: no one is begging to cross the street on Mercer or elsewhere. The system, however, is far from perfect.

As a frequent walker, I am occasionally inconvenienced by the limitations of the SDOT system. Unless you push the pedestrian call button, the technology doesn’t know a human is there waiting to walk the same way sensors can detect buses and cars. As a result, you don’t push the call button soon enough and you end up not receiving the approval to walk across the street and the light cycle for cars may cycle through faster. You could have easily made it across the street, but you’re not given the opportunity to.

This is being addressed. I’m told by SDOT that they’re soon working with microwave technology that will make it easier to detect pedestrians. In the meantime, is it a nuisance? Yes.

But pedestrians aren’t the only ones dealing with inconveniences. There are times, particularly on overnights, where signals cycle through and don’t seem to recognize a car is there waiting to drive through an intersection. On Valley at Fairview, there are times where the light doesn’t change at all and you’re nearly forced into running the red to get through.

Simply not getting your way each and every time, as this organization would love, doesn’t mean you’re begging for anything. This is the kind of childish hyperbole that doesn’t suit their cause. And if they think the city is ignoring them now, I hope they understand a view stickers illegally posted are unlikely to change anything.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
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Hey pedestrian activists, stop being so dramatic