A little good pedestrian news

A certain individual whose name rhymes with pay-un essentially accused me of blaming the victim in the pedestrian death of Floret Kusi-Davies. Nothing could be further from the truth, as I am well aware of the plight of someone trying to navigate our car-centric area on foot and think it’s a shame. I do think, however, that when the deck is stacked against you that makes it more important, not less, to use all those advantages at your disposal to protect your fragile life.

It did bring to mind this excellent WaPo article from a few years ago from Mary Battiata, who set out to walk – in four to six mile excursions – from the Mall to Gilbert’s Corner. I want to draw your attention to it not just because it’s well-written and discusses the unfortunate realities of being a pedestrian in our area, but because it spends a good amount of time talking about the pedestrian (and, really, non-pedestrian) nightmare that is Seven Corners.

So what? So this: after twenty years of planning, the pedestrian bridge over Seven Corners is finally going to break ground. It’s tragically comic: the brief writeup ends with “Supervisor Penelope Gross and others say they aren’t willing to wait any longer to save lives” in response to calls to do some road alteration rather than build the bridge. Well, that would hardly be possible, would it now?

Interestingly the project has gone from 4 million bucks according to this article from the Falls Church News-Press from October of last year and seven million according to the WUSA9 article. Procrastination is expensive, it seems.

6 Comments so far

  1. Wayan (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 4:53 pm


    I don’t know why you’re thinking I’m blaming the victim – those would be the dead woman, her child, and the driver. I am saying that you’re heartless banter about her street-crossing death demeans the heart-stopping experience pedestrians face in pro-car suburbs.

  2. Tiff (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 5:08 pm

    Pay attention- he said you accused HIM of blaming the victim.

    Frankly, I think the whole phrase “blaming the victim” is inappropriate in this case- it implies that somehow the pedestrian was victimIZED, as if the driver of the car somehow screwed up, when the police investigation clearly shows otherwise. If there’s a screwup here, it’s in the complete lack of crosswalk and appropriate traffic signals.

  3. Wayan (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 5:16 pm

    Agreed – there’s a screwup here, it’s in the complete lack of crosswalk and appropriate traffic signals.

  4. Don (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

    Well, I don’t live in this black&white world you do where only one person always gets all the blame. The situation pedestrians are in here in this car-crazy area is unfortunate. That doesn’t mean, however, they they’re off the hook to behave in the safest manner possible.

    You’re effectively engaging in the kind of thinking that says since you’re already at a disadvantage why bother doing things to be safer, like cross at the crosswalk and wear bright clothing.

    I’m saying that since it’s already an unsafe situation out there that it’s ALL THE MORE important to do everything possible to avoid getting killed.

    You want to lay the blame at the feet of traffic planners or commissioners who didn’t engage in effective urban planning? Fine. But she’s still dead. You can fix the blame afterwards or you can try to avoid the problem in the first place. Since you’re taking care of making sure the darkness is sufficiently cursed, I’m gonna be over here with the candles.

  5. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on August 10th, 2007 @ 7:26 pm

    It may seem harsh to blame the woman who got hit but pedestrians have to take an active role in their own safety. Part of that is not crossing where it is unsafe to do so.

    I see why people do this and I have done it as well – even at a big-ass dangerous intersection in Bangkok of all places – but that doesn’t mean it’s smart to do. It’s just faster when done properly. That’s sometimes a good bet, but often not.

    Even when a drive is at fault in an accident like this, that doesn’t mean much when you are dead or else drooling for the rest of your life from a head injury.

  6. Jon (unregistered) on August 12th, 2007 @ 5:00 pm

    I don’t know much about that road in Bowie, but Seven Corners is probably the worst intersection I’ve ever driven through. I used to go through there every day on the way to work. There are spots where months of study, reading the signs, and emails to VDOT and members of the VA state government can’t determine the proper right of way. They shouldn’t build a pedestrian bridge, they should destroy the entire two mile radius and start over again.

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