School crosswalk safety in Albuquerque

We here at Better Burque (well, at least some of us) were happy to see the City of Albuquerque’s attempt to catalog the safety of our community’s school-related pedestrian crossings.

“Women in essential services. Mrs. E.K. Sabel and Mrs. J.R. Harris, members of the Women’s Safety Traffic Reserve in Oakland, California, are among the many mothers who are keeping the city’s accident rate low by guarding school crossings during school hours” – photo by Ann Rosner, 1943, courtesy Library of Congress

But there’s a sad underlying reality to the need for this – a tacit acceptance of the reality that some substantial fraction of the drivers of our community’s automobiles can be expected to violate the law – “every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway”.

Don’t get us wrong. We think it’s great to pursue solutions that recognize the reality of how drivers of cars actually behave. That’s one of the core principles of “Vision Zero” – let’s build safety into the system. But can we at least have a moment’s thought for the fact that the reason we need to do all this is because drivers can be counted on to speed, to run red lights and stop signs, and ignore crosswalks?

Can we at least include some recognition in our discussion of this public policy initiative that it’s required because we’ve accepted, and taken for granted, the privileged space of these killing machines in our communities?


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