Comment 52874

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2010 at 11:10:54

Why is it more important to save a driver 30 seconds than it is to save a pedestrian 5 minutes?

Because this is part of the car-centric culture we've predicated our society on. And it's a very, very difficult paradigm to change, in the main.

I'm a pedestrian. I've long remarked that as an adult, I've spent far more time on my feet than behind the wheel of a car getting to where I've needed to get. Additionally, I've accumulated tons of miles using public transit, far more than in an automobile. However...

Recently, I was discussing the 'arrogance of drivers' with my dad, whose independence as a senior is undeniably anchored to his car. Full credit to him that he can look at the issue of 'car vs pedestrian' in a reasonable fashion; maybe because he does spend time travelling by foot as an admittedly vulnerable member of society, he's become a little more 'aware' of the inequities.

Following on our discussion, I had to do some driving. In his car. Specifically, from one end of the city to the other. And I was a little...well, 'struck' by how quicksilver-like the change in mindset was, from arch pedestrian to driver: it's as if something descends, a kind of sanctification, one that has a (figurative) little voice whispering 'All that matters is you getting from Point A to Point B in as expedient a fashion possible'. This means that any impediment at all...lights changing, another vehicle making an inconvenient-for-me turn, or a pedestrian...seem like an insult.

I was driving, I was carrying on at the speed limit, and I was very aware of this voice. And as I examined the suggested truth...one that I'd bet a ton of money is the default for just about any driver on any road at any given time...as I say, I was struck. (In retrospect, maybe the best analogy is 'The Mask', the Jim Carrey film.)

It was sobering, being reminded of just how great a gulf there is between 'the driver' and 'the pedestrian'...and I'm wholeheartedly a card-carrying member of the latter group, not the former. So what's it like for those who are the reverse? How much more entrenched is this 'arrogance' with them? (Please; this is a rhetorical question. All one has to do to witness proof is to take a look at the comments made by the general car-driving population when the subject of 'How We Get Around' is broached.)

I salute Ryan's continued efforts to present opportunities to discuss this basic quality of Life issue. It's only through increased dialogue, heightened engagement that we're going to find a gradual shifting to something far more humane than what we currently see in our city.

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