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Author Topic: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?  (Read 1872 times)

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How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« on: February 10, 2018, 12:23:40 PM »

"You" meaning you personally, not you in general.

Obviously, it depends on the situation. Usually, my goal is to go at the first opportunity that is both completely safe and does not cause any cars to slow down or stop solely because I'm crossing. This means I generally do not press the pedestrian button to activate an all-pedestrian phase unless it's an intersection where I wouldn't be able to cross otherwise or if someone else is also trying to cross. This also means I will often cross where there isn't a crosswalk. Whenever I let a car go first, I deliberately back away from the intersection so that he/she won't stop for me.

Merrimack St./Pawtucket St. and University Ave./VFW Highway, Lowell, MA: These signals have all-pedestrian phases that just barely allow pedestrians to cross diagonally. I always cross both, so I cross the first one diagonally, and the second one normally. I sometimes enter on the north-south yellow light if no cars are in the intersection or about to enter at the time. Unlike many UMass Lowell students, I don't go automatically when the north-south light is green if I'm not crossing diagonally; I check for left turns, although I often will go if it's clear but there's no pedestrian signal yet.

All other busy roads at major intersections (applies to both traffic lights and stop signs): I try to find a gap in traffic, and then run (not walk) across. No diagonal crossings.

Busy road, not at a major intersection: If I'm walking along the road for a while and can cross at any time, I constantly wait for a gap in traffic while walking along the sidewalk and cross when I can. If I can't find a gap, I use the last crosswalk that I can without having to backtrack. If I'm not walking along the road, I make it clear that I'm trying to cross. Usually one of the first 6 cars will stop for me, which causes the car on the other side of the road to also stop. This delays traffic for a few seconds, but I can get across.

Busy road, one-way: I can wait for a gap in traffic much more easily in this case, unless traffic is stopped, in which I try to go when it's obvious that the car I'm directly in front of won't be moving when I'm crossing. I make a hand gesture to make it obvious that I'm crossing between two stopped cars. (This applies to two-way roads, too, but because of the roads that I use, whenever the cars are stopped, it's usually at a specific one-way pair.)

Non-busy road (including normally busy roads at non-busy times of day): Wait for cars to pass in both directions (or all three or four if at an intersection), then go when I won't be delaying anyone.

Side street or business exit, where a single stopped car is facing a major roadway: As long as there's only one car, I don't wait for anything, but I go behind the car instead of in front of it.

When it's dark and my only option is to go in front of another car (either forcing him/her to stop or because he/she is already stopped), I aim my flashlight (I always use one) at the road so that it's obvious that I want to cross.

I have never crossed the street as a pedestrian on a road with four or more lanes or at a roundabout/rotary/traffic circle, so I don't know how I would handle those.
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2018, 12:37:48 PM »

I use my legs.
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2018, 12:44:21 PM »

I try to make eye contact with the person. Because most people in this state will see someone crossing and speed upon not r


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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2018, 12:54:56 PM »

Pedestrian?  What's that?  I drive.

But seriously, the only places I've ever really done this outside of a residential neighborhood (where you just walk across after a quick glance to make sure that that 2 cars/hour traffic volume hasn't hit all at once) are downtown New Orleans and New York City.

In downtown New Orleans, there are pedestrian signals at every corner.  Some of them work.  Nobody pays any attention to them.  You just cross when it's safe, watching for cars coming from every direction, and if you're near the streetcar line, keep an eye on the tracks because they have their own cycle in the traffic signals and can be coming when you least expect it.  Or you just cross in the middle of the block if you don't want to be bothered with traffic coming from multiple directions.  Most of the streets are one-way, or divided with a neutral ground (that's a median if you're not in New Orleans), but you still look both ways because you never know...a lot of alcohol is consumed here.  A jaywalking violation is unheard of...there may not even be a law on the books.

In NYC, I found it to be surprisingly orderly amidst the chaos.  The pedestrian signals don't make you wait an unreasonable amount of time to cross.  Just about everyone waits for them, and when you get the WALK signal, cars stop and don't creep into the crosswalk.  I think right turn on red is not legal in NYC.  I don't remember seeing a lot of people jaywalking on the busy N-S avenues, because it would be really difficult to do.  Some of the narrow E-W streets were a different story, since there are large breaks in traffic due to the lights at every corner, and if you're in a commercial district and you're at a shop on one side of the street and want to go to the one across the street, you aren't going to walk all the way to the end of the block to cross.  I personally avoided it because I understand that the jaywalking laws are (sometimes) enforced there.  When you get into the residential areas, the streets are quieter and I saw people jaywalking more.  I did it myself in front of 129 W 81st Street, so I could get a picture of the building there (I'm sure someone here will know why).  There wasn't a moving vehicle in sight.

One other thing that pertains to crossing streets, also in NYC.  I remember once looking at a map that included the subway stations, and tried to figure out a path that you could take that would take you the longest distance, entirely on foot without crossing a street at the surface, or getting on a train.  There are many intersections that you can go down into a subway station and surface on the other side of the street, or diagonally across the intersection.  I found an area where it appeared you could get several (like maybe 10) blocks.  I'm sure there are more, but at the time, I hadn't personally experienced the New York subways, and wasn't 100% certain of what I was looking at.  I may even try this the next time I'm up that way.  I'm also not sure whether some or all of these stations would require an MTA card to get through the station from one side of the street to the other. 

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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2018, 01:16:26 PM »

I try to make eye contact with the person. Because most people in this state will see someone crossing and speed upon not r

Did someone hit you as you made that comment?
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2018, 02:40:08 PM »

When I’m out running a divided higbway I usually turn to face towards traffic and keep going at least a tenth of a mile past an intersection.  When I see a clearing both ways I start my crossing and turn to face the opposite direction of traffic.  Usually I don’t have any issues but sometimes I have to stay running on the median if I get a stray car pulling out of a driveway or making a turn.  Generally I assume nobody can see me which is due to being hit in cross walks three times.  Twice it was people looking towards oncoming traffic while they are making a right turn, the other was someone running a stop sign to beat traffic.  I almost exclusively run before sunrise before the bulk of traffic gets going for rush hour.  I’d rather traffic just know I’m not there than be hindered by day time drivers, all times I’ve been hit were mid-day. 
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 02:42:19 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2018, 10:55:21 PM »

NYC sounds pretty tame when compared to Chicago.

In Chicago, pedestrians tend to cross anywhere at anytime, walking as they drive and bicycle, that is, ignoring signage and signals.  As soon as it's clear, and sometimes when it's not, they just decide to cross the street. Red signals (and "don't walk" signals) mean nothing to them (little different than for drivers and bicyclists).  You can tell someone from out of the region as they'll actually wait for the walk signal.  Jaywalking is very common.  Hey, why wait when you can just dart across in front of that truck there?  It also extends to the multitude of grade crossings on railroads.  Again, they don't like to wait.  Hell, even a school bus in the right lane at one next to me hit the gas instead of stopping when the signals started flashing (it was supposed to stop and look, legally - Harlem Avenue at the BNSF tracks, Berwyn).  Wish I had a dash cam that day.  The gates can be down for a Metra stopped to drop off passengers, and the pedestrians will simply dart across the tracks, some without looking for another approaching train.  It's bad enough that the rail companies put 6 foot chain link fencing down the middle, between the two sets of tracks to discourage jaywalking across the rails.  Unfortunately, that leads to the result as seen in this YouTube video (Downers Grove, 1991):

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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 12:50:41 PM »

In DC and Arlington, unless at a busy intersection, I just sorta go. I know 95Hoo hates jaywalkers around Washington Circle, but doesn't that just make the case for a second exit at the Foggy Bottom metro station?

My favorite place to cross the street was Rome, Italy, where there are very few crosswalks and almost no signals.

You just start crossing the street and keep walking...the drivers on cars and scooters will simply slow down for you to clear their "lane", and then continue. Like a fish in water.
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2018, 12:55:24 PM »

I try to make eye contact with the person. Because most people in this state will see someone crossing and speed upon not r

Did someone hit you as you made that comment?
No, ever since iOS 11 my screen’s touch capabilities are fucked.


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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2018, 02:42:28 PM »

I stop (OK, often only yield - if I don't need to, I don't come to a complete stop), look to see both ways are clear, listen just in case, and keep looking and listening until I'm across the road.  :)

Usually, my goal is to go at the first opportunity that is both completely safe and does not cause any cars to slow down or stop solely because I'm crossing. This means I generally do not press the pedestrian button to activate an all-pedestrian phase unless it's an intersection where I wouldn't be able to cross otherwise or if someone else is also trying to cross.
This is my goal at signalised crossings. Isn't it technically jaywalking though (despite being nice to those in cars and treating them as your betters, which is what the nonsense banning of jaywalking is about)? Certainly even here with no anti-jaywalking laws, at a crossing (though if I'm not at a crossing), its disobeying the Highway Code to cross when the man is red.

And German/Scandinavian friends have been aghast that I've done this horrific crime - worse than crossing not at a crossing. Because I've not only crossed without permission to cross, but actively been told not to cross. For shame!  :-D
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This also means I will often cross where there isn't a crosswalk.
:-o dirty jaywalker!!!

I do it all the time. I cross where/when convenient. And often the crossings aren't convenient. If I need to cross a road and a big gap opens up, I just do it (often with a diagonal - depends on how much time I have). I'm not impeding traffic, they aren't impeding me. I do my looking and listening for traffic as I walk along a road I need to be on the other side of by a certain point and so can cross when there's a safe gap.
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Whenever I let a car go first, I deliberately back away from the intersection so that he/she won't stop for me.
Really annoying is when they do stop and feel they've done a good turn, but if they carried on travelling, then the large gap behind them would have allowed me to cross at most a couple of seconds later (and often sooner as they fail to slow down noticeably enough early enough for me to feel safe crossing until they are stopped).

I've even had it where a car has overshot me (because she initially stopped due to traffic. and because she was an unobservant idiot she waited for me to somehow get around her car and cross, rather than driving on and letting me cross an empty road with no traffic) so I'm by the rear doors (having nearly hit me with her wing mirror), blocked me as she's come so close to the edge of the road (so I could only get past her vehicle by turning sideways and squeezing through a narrow gap - the sidewalk tapered to nothing and I was standing by the nothing point. The front end was very close to a car parked in a driveway - because she had mounted a dropped kerb to be in a position to let me past) and demanded that I go around the front of her vehicle even though I explained that I was already near the back and pointed out that the sidewalk on the other side started behind her car. After I went struggled round the front of her car and then walked almost along the street to get to the sidewalk, she demanded I say "thank you". It took an awful lot to not say something sounding a bit like it (different vowel sound in the first word) instead. I settled for something along the lines of "why? you've done nothing to help me and everything to obstruct me".
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2018, 03:51:09 PM »

In DC and Arlington, unless at a busy intersection, I just sorta go. I know 95Hoo hates jaywalkers around Washington Circle, but doesn't that just make the case for a second exit at the Foggy Bottom metro station?

....

What I hate is the people who have an “I want to walk, so I get to walk and you got to stop” attitude. If I have a green light, you walk in front of me at your own risk. If you want to jaywalk, you do it in a way that won’t hold up traffic. (Whereas crossing at an uncontrolled crosswalk is a totally different matter.)
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2018, 04:25:28 PM »

In DC and Arlington, unless at a busy intersection, I just sorta go. I know 95Hoo hates jaywalkers around Washington Circle, but doesn't that just make the case for a second exit at the Foggy Bottom metro station?

....

What I hate is the people who have an “I want to walk, so I get to walk and you got to stop” attitude. If I have a green light, you walk in front of me at your own risk. If you want to jaywalk, you do it in a way that won’t hold up traffic. (Whereas crossing at an uncontrolled crosswalk is a totally different matter.)

Agreed. If you’re waiting to cross and you’re not at a crosswalk, I’m not going to stop for you.
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2018, 06:44:56 PM »

I honestly don't understand passing cars sometimes.  I've had people try to be "nice" by stopping to let me cross... never mind that I have to wait the same amount of time, if not longer, for them to stop than to wait for them to pass, they now have to wait for me to cross, and nobody else is around to alter this equation.
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2018, 08:37:48 PM »

Depends on the roadway and location:

Neighborhood road: cross when no cars are moving near me.

2 lane country roads: Opposite side of the road at all times when running, stop and look then cross.

2 lane city roads: Use x walk controlled or uncontrolled. Can go diagonally across though. I have one roadway which is an exception (Oregon St.)

99W: Signalized x-walks only. Same goes for any other busy roadway. I will admit to jaywalking on 99W at the old railway bridge south of Sherwood.

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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2018, 09:36:30 PM »

I use my legs.

If I'm leaving the bar, it might be on my hands and knees.  :)
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2018, 04:36:08 PM »

Jaywalking is common in Orlando.  Especially when a bus drops off a passenger, usually one will cross the street behind the bus despite growing up in NJ in the 70's we were taught it was  a no no to cross behind the bus because the driver does not see you.  I guess that there was propaganda led by moral fearing teachers, as why would a bus need to back up in the first place.

Being you never here about a bus backing in to a pedestrian and jay walking behind the bus is common, I am sure most people do not even considering endangering their lives when walking behind the bus.

Anyway, many people walk anywhere and anyplace including school children crossing busy Orange Blossom Trail only 50 feet away from a signalized crosswalk.  I love how they have to zig and zag around stopped cars while the crosswalk is uncluttered and a straight shot across with no zigging at all.
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2018, 04:40:10 PM »

NYC sounds pretty tame when compared to Chicago.

In Chicago, pedestrians tend to cross anywhere at anytime, walking as they drive and bicycle, that is, ignoring signage and signals.  As soon as it's clear, and sometimes when it's not, they just decide to cross the street. Red signals (and "don't walk" signals) mean nothing to them (little different than for drivers and bicyclists).  You can tell someone from out of the region as they'll actually wait for the walk signal.  Jaywalking is very common.  Hey, why wait when you can just dart across in front of that truck there?  It also extends to the multitude of grade crossings on railroads.  Again, they don't like to wait.  Hell, even a school bus in the right lane at one next to me hit the gas instead of stopping when the signals started flashing (it was supposed to stop and look, legally - Harlem Avenue at the BNSF tracks, Berwyn).  Wish I had a dash cam that day.  The gates can be down for a Metra stopped to drop off passengers, and the pedestrians will simply dart across the tracks, some without looking for another approaching train.  It's bad enough that the rail companies put 6 foot chain link fencing down the middle, between the two sets of tracks to discourage jaywalking across the rails.  Unfortunately, that leads to the result as seen in this YouTube video (Downers Grove, 1991):


The story is that she was walking with her divorce attorney and talking about her divorce, so the poor woman had reason to be distracted.  Regardless, I wish they'd show this video to every dipshit that runs in front of the train I take home from work, while the crossing gates are down, because God forbid they wait 15 whole minutes for the next one.

Me, I cross the street at crosswalks and, when they're signalized, when I have the green light, because I'm part of the solution and not part of the problem.
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2018, 04:54:26 PM »

Jaywalking is common in Orlando.  Especially when a bus drops off a passenger, usually one will cross the street behind the bus despite growing up in NJ in the 70's we were taught it was  a no no to cross behind the bus because the driver does not see you.  I guess that there was propaganda led by moral fearing teachers, as why would a bus need to back up in the first place.

Being you never here about a bus backing in to a pedestrian and jay walking behind the bus is common, I am sure most people do not even considering endangering their lives when walking behind the bus.

Anyway, many people walk anywhere and anyplace including school children crossing busy Orange Blossom Trail only 50 feet away from a signalized crosswalk.  I love how they have to zig and zag around stopped cars while the crosswalk is uncluttered and a straight shot across with no zigging at all.

The LRTA encourages crossing behind, as the bus will always move forward next.
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2018, 04:57:43 PM »

We were taught to cross in front of the bus as long as the driver could see us.  I'd say the best idea is to wait for the bus to move along, then cross.
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2018, 12:36:43 AM »

I honestly don't understand passing cars sometimes.  I've had people try to be "nice" by stopping to let me cross... never mind that I have to wait the same amount of time, if not longer, for them to stop than to wait for them to pass, they now have to wait for me to cross, and nobody else is around to alter this equation.

I see this kind of thing all the time in various aspects of driving. Like when another driver reaches an adjacent stop sign before you but insists on letting you go first. I guess it makes them feel noble or something.

The problem is that when another driver doesn't do what is expected, you really don't know what they're going to do.

My son has been driving for two years now and my daughter will be learning shortly. I've trained them both to do what's expected, not what's "nice." Because what's expected is safer than what's nice.

This applies even more so as a pedestrian because it's far safer to cross a street after a vehicle has passed rather than cross in front of it.


[Edited to correct a missing word.]
« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 11:31:54 AM by qguy »
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2018, 02:06:59 PM »

If it's four or more lanes, the pedestrian signals here hardly last in their walk phase and drivers here don't know what pedestrians are (not yielding to them when turning, not obeying things like HAWK signals) so I usually speedwalk across, and if it's starting to count down as I speedwalk, I do a (on the slow side) run. Three or less lanes and I can usually walk it.
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2018, 08:47:18 AM »

I see this kind of thing all the time in various aspects of driving. Like when another driver reaches an adjacent stop sign before you but insists on letting you go first. I guess it makes them feel noble or something.

That's why that scene at the beginning of LA Story is so hilarious, where four cars reach a four-way stop at the same time, all four drivers wave the others through, and then all four cars collide into each other.
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2018, 11:42:07 AM »

I almost got 'got' by a daydreamer waiting on a gap in traffic! I don't know what do to about Fort Smith's dumbass drivers anymore! :banghead:

 There was also an incident at Free Ferry Rd. and Old Greenwood Rd. -- Which is a relatively large intersection, when crossing to Old Greenwood from westbound side of Rogers there are four lanes to cross.
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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2018, 12:26:02 PM »

By putting one foot in front of the other and repeating until I’ve reached the other side of the street.
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1995hoo

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Re: How do you cross the street as a pedestrian?
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2018, 11:25:05 AM »

We were taught to cross in front of the bus as long as the driver could see us.  I'd say the best idea is to wait for the bus to move along, then cross.

I remember the UVA Transit System buses had signs asking people to cross behind the bus because of the risk that you’d be hit by a driver passing the stopped bus (which was a routine practice). Of course, it seems you’d then have the same risk as to getting hit by drivers going the other way, right?
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 11:34:46 AM by 1995hoo »
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