To whom do the streets belong?


To the editor:

On a recent morning as I was walking my dog, Pepper, across a busy West 235th Street crosswalk at Cambridge Avenue, a car was approaching.

I was already in the crosswalk, but to my chagrin, instead of stopping and letting us walk, this driver decided brazenly to swerve around us and speed up.

I wish this was an uncommon phenomenon and that I was shocked. In fact, right near this crosswalk at Oxford — kitty-corner to Key Food — a woman was hit and killed by a vehicle. Also, my neighbor was hit on West 235th by a speeding vehicle making a quick turn.

Violating crosswalks by vehicles is not a new trend in Riverdale. Despite the traffic codes and even new stop signs, drivers have a de facto right of way in all disputes because of the size weight and deadly consequences of any potential encounter.

Drivers operate vehicles with this vehicle first and foremost mindset — pedestrians must beware.

Here is, in fact, how the law reads: Pedestrians have the right of way in all crosswalks and at intersections with marked or unmarked crosswalks.

If an intersection is equipped with a pedestrian traffic signal, they should cross during the “walk” phase of the signal.

Note that a pedestrian will get a “walk” signal to go the same direction motorists are heading when they get a green signal. Motorists turning right or left at an intersection should always look for pedestrians and yield the right of way to them. Pedestrians have the right of way at intersections, even if drivers have a green light.

In light of increased deaths and injuries and regular infractions — as demonstrated above — I ask, whose streets are these?

David Knapp