Letter: Bullying drivers a downtown danger

Posted

To the editor:

In Amanda Drane's June 19 article on car-pedestrian accidents, Sgt. Marc Maddalena lays the blame for the majority of the 21 accidents this year on pedestrians who are either careless or drunk, or perhaps both, which gives the feel of letting drivers off the hook.

I take a walk through downtown Pittsfield most every day to stretch my legs and get a little exercise and have been doing so pretty religiously for about two years. My experience as a pedestrian in that time is that I take my life in my hands every time I take a stroll through our fair city. Drivers blow through crosswalks oblivious of pedestrians and seem often to resent having to yield the road. I've been honked at, cursed at and have received the usual array of colorful hand gestures. I've watched as mothers with strollers, or senior citizens, wait at well-marked crosswalks (even the big crosswalk in front of St. Stephens just a block from City Hall!) while cars and trucks roar past them. Many drivers stop (thumbs up), but enough don't to make the situation treacherous. So we pedestrians are always wary.

I invite Sgt. Maddalena to join me on my perambulation through downtown some morning or afternoon so he can see from ground level what's really going on for pedestrians in the city. There are literally hundreds of potential run-ins daily between cars and actual humans and so far only 21 accidents have occurred this year. This isn't because cars are careful — they're not— but because pedestrians 99 percent of the time yield their lawful right of way to drivers being bullies. The sergeant's comments don't help the situation.

David Baum,

Pittsfield

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