What on earth is going on in this small city (Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle) in Washington State? So much for West Coast cities having a reputation for being progressive: Kirkland has somehow decided that the best way to handle pedestrian injuries and deaths at pedestrian crossings is to place yellow flags at each side of the street for the pedestrians to carry and hold out as they cross the street! What? Yeah, read that again. The name of the campaign? Take it to Make It! As it says on some of the buckets of flags, “62 people have been injured or killed in crosswalks in Kirkland. Not carrying a flag: 62. Carrying a flag: 0.” Errr… what?
Is the implication that somehow a pedestrian who gets hit not carrying a flag is at fault? Or that someone carrying two shopping bags doesn’t deserve to be as safe on a crosswalk as someone with a free hand to hold a flag? Are you kidding me? What is the point of having a crosswalk at all if you’re going to shift all the responsibility for pedestrian safety onto the pedestrian? Do all pedestrians need to wear bright fluorescent vests in order to not be at fault if hit while crossing the street? At least if they wore a vest they wouldn’t have to hold these stupid flags! Is EPA’s Smart Growth program really using this as a good precedent for smart growth?