It was late in 2016 when I started my walks of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods. At the time, as is still the case, urban populations within the city limits of Cincinnati, as well as urban areas across the country were seeing a rise in density. More people moving to the city meant more pedestrians on the sidewalk.
But more pedestrians also meant more distractions for the driver.
Drivers were accustomed to veering of the exit ramps of I-71, I-75 or I-471 without regard for people. PEOPLE walking along a sidewalk waiting at a traffic light for the signal to change to “go.” Or PEOPLE walking to work from Pendleton or from across the river in Covington.
Now, along with juggling cell phones ringing and Google maps pinging, they had to look out for pedestrians crossing the road at intersections within crosswalks or at the command of walk signals blazing into the morning, noon or night.
I’ll admit, there are those who jaywalk. Those individuals traverse streets between intersections because we, as a city, lack the political will to ask our police department to stop jaywalkers AND stop cars whooshing through red lights or rolling to the stop on top of a crosswalk.
Yes, accidents happen. But so do crashes.
A car crashed into my knee, same as it might a utility pole or another car. My knee is damaged, in the same way a pole or other car might be. But a utility pole or car doesn’t have emotions. Those objects will not suffer the same trauma as a pedestrian who might fear walking the streets again, let alone fear of driving and unleashing a similar wrath on someone else.