A recent article on Grist explainin “Why are we (Americans) so angry at the gas pump “– Because we have no choices- notes that suburban sprawl makes impossible (or at best impracticable) other transportation means such as walking, biking or taking public transit. We do have to drive to work, shopping, doctor, the kids soccer games ,family events, church and so on… So even with a gas efficient vehicle at $3 /gallon we’ve already spent a big chunk of our budget at the pump, if gas were $8.50/gallon as I understand it is now in UK , we’d probably had to stop eating because we would either be unable to afford a trip to the store, or if we put the gas in the car there will be nothing left to purchase groceries.
One of the solutions pointed in the Grist article mentioned above: limit sprawl from now own, rebuild within urban boundaries with higher population densities. Shorter distances will make all these options such as walking possible again. Agreed! But we need to do better, and there is something else we need to do first: we need to revise our outlook on accessibility. In many cases it is not distance, but lack of access for cyclists and pedestrians turning away most Americans living in suburban areas who may consider walking instead of driving.
And our priorities are so skewed that , even in the old city neighborhoods where pedestrian pathways survived the last six decades, we tend to ignore the fact that their role is not ornamental but quite pragmatic. Yes, people do walk on those sidewalks –especially when they are the pedestrian path to a bus route. So really, what were they thinking when they put up this sign?
I am unable to tell you what exactly where they thinking, but I can tell you how to fix it. You can file a complaint with Penn DOT here: http://www.dot.state.pa.us/penndot/districts/district11/d11ccc.nsf
Why file a complaint?
- Because Penn DOT through their local district is actually required to supervise and in certain cases approve every step of the project in order to comply with FHWA Work Zone Safety & Mobility Rule (23 CFR Subpart J)
- Because Penn DOT’s specifies in its Publication 46 that, when designing even a temporary traffic control plan, a contractor is required to provide bicyclist and pedestrian accommodations:
“Para 188.8.131.52 (c) Do not expose bicycle and pedestrian pathways to unsafe conditions…”, and obviously if your pathway is blocked therefore forces you to step out in traffic you are exposed to an unsafe condition.
- Because we need to remind Penn DOT that their pedestrian friendly policies are nothing if they are just ink on paper.
WE have the same rights as Pedestrians as we do as drivers!