Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pity the Poor Pedestrian

Pedestrians squeeze between buses stopped on the crosswalk on Carrera 10 and Jimenez, one of the city's most pedestrian-heavy intersections. Soon, a TransMilenia line is supposed to create order here. 
El Tiempo reported the other day that every two days in Bogotá a pedestrian is killed by traffic, and that one is injured every two hours.

And the fault, of course, is the pedestrians', says El Tiempo, "for not looking when they cross the street."

A bus drives across a crosswalk. 
All of which makes me wonder whether the El Tiempo reporter has ever ventured out onto Bogotá's streets.

Did the reporter ever walk thru La Candelaria, or another neighborhood, where cars and trucks don't bother to stop - or sometimes even slow down - at stop signs? (See them in action here, here and here.)

Did he or she try crossing major downtown avenues, where vehicles turn across crosswalks, taking for granted that pedestrians will scatter out of their way?

Walking in the street to pass
a car parked on a sidewalk.
Did the reporter walk around a neighborhood like Teusaquillo, where drivers have turned many sidewalks into parking lots, forcing pedestrians to walk in the streets?

People wait while buses pass pass by, even tho the pedestrians have the green light. 
Crossing 19th St., a man covers his mouth, apparently to protect from vehicle fumes. 

Cruising past a stop sign near Jorge Tadeo University. 
On Carrera 5 near La Macarena a man waits for a chance to race across the street.
Pedestrians have the green light, but vehicles block the crosswalk. 
Let me thru! Light's green for pedestrians, but cars are occupying the crosswalk. 

Scurrying across a downtown Bogotá avenue.

The positive for pedestrians: Pedestrian bridges over broad avenues. Some of the bridges, however, have become notorious for muggings. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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