Last night a pedestrian was struck and killed near the intersection of Central Avenue and 86th N.W., on the City’s west side. Reports blame the victim for “crossing in a non-designated crosswalk area.” And that will, almost certainly, be that from a news/investigatory standpoint. We’ll just chalk up another pedestrian fatality and carry on with transportation infrastructure that looks like this:
Above is the most recent Streetview of Central westbound at 86th. Without having specifics of exactly how and why the deceased tried to cross, we can only ponder a few realities at this intersection.
- The speed limit on this highway stretch of Central is 55 mph westbound.
- There is a signal at 86th itself, one designed with just about zero expectation that anyone would choose to walk across it.
- As is true at many places in newer parts of town, you’ll notice the bus stop has a cute little sidewalk-ette, extending just far enough to make it to the generally inhospitable crosswalk.
- And perhaps most importantly, there’s a brand spanking new gas station/convenience store on the southwest corner of the intersection. Having ridden out to this intersection a few weeks back, I’d guess that only the occasional bus rider would have tried to cross Central before this gas station arrived, and never at 11:00 p.m., the time of the crash. No, chances are pretty high the deceased was trying to get to or from that convenience store.
What’s the point of all these factoids and conjecture? Only that we are tending to build incentives for pedestrian activity without providing the infrastructure to make that pedestrian activity safe. But, as providing such infrastructure is considered expensive, we’re just keep going with the “blame the victim” narrative.
It’s so much cheaper.