Video: Interfering with Traffic

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 17, 2013

Last year, Washington, DC based photographer Jay Mallin produced a short documentary video called "Interfering with Traffic" about the abysmal conditions on a Northern Virginia highway.

It highlights and explores the absurdity of the police department charging two pedestrians with "interference with traffic" after getting hit by automobiles, when the lack of pedestrian amenities makes it all but impossible to cross the street legally.

(h/t to the Atlantic Cities)

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted January 17, 2013 at 21:21:31

I don't get it. Why aren't they pushing for functional crosswalks or more of them? If these roads are used so much by pedestrians, how come they don't have it already?

(and yes, I get the agenda being pushed here, I just don't agree with it)

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 18, 2013 at 06:29:11 in reply to Comment 85278

I'm confused, do you disagree with the "agenda" of functional crosswalks and more of them so people can safely cross the street or do you agree with it, because it sounds like that's what they're asking for.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted January 19, 2013 at 09:23:57 in reply to Comment 85280

You shouldn't be confused.

This is a busy, 5-lane dual-direction crosswalk referenced at the beginning, then a multi-lane, dual-direction crosswalk in the second part.

The first street looks to be busy. Very busy, I'd say. Reminds me of something near Clappison's Corners, which is about the same layout, maybe a bit more busy than that one in the video. This street is pretty heavily driven, and now with the new big box stores, there's more pedestrian traffic too. However, you'd be best served to cross at a functional crosswalk, not where it's convenient for a pedestrian. If there's a place where a crosswalk should go, these pedestrians, people who live nearby, and community activists should be working with city hall, instead of endangering themselves and others by jaywalking.

I'm all for crosswalks that are in places where they're needed - for example, the one that just was written up right here at RTH on John and Augusta - but I am not for putting them in where they aren't used. It's a compromise, like most things in a city. The weight of the times that it's used vs the times it isn't. For example - there's a big stretch on John from Young to Charlton where there is no crosswalk. I'd love to have one at Forest, or at the entrance to the strip mall, but there isn't one there. It would probably get used a lot too, but I am OK with the compromise of walking the 2 blocks from either crosswalk to cross once again.

Why is this so difficult?

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By DBC (registered) | Posted January 20, 2013 at 09:26:19 in reply to Comment 85304

Imagine for a moment that you are not you. That perhaps you are elderly or infirm and that walking 4 blocks just to cross the road is a big deal.

Why is this so difficult to imagine?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted January 20, 2013 at 11:50:35 in reply to Comment 85320

See comment above, DBC. If that's a concern, and it may well be, then the community should be getting involved to make it happen.

In my above comment regarding walking the extra distance, I see it regularly. I live in an area that has large high-rise buildings and am right near St. Joe's and all the related clinics, specialists, etc. There's lots of elderly people walking - and it's on an incline too. But to be quite frank, having fully lighted intersections at every intersection isn't a good fit. I've said it before, and to hell with the traffic department and their undeserved fears of it, pedestrian-activated crossings (the big yellow and black X hanging over the street) is the compromise. They work in other cities, they will work here too, if given the chance.

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