Making a Difference One Crosswalk at a Time by Niko Letunic

Several months ago, walking down Dolores Street, I stumbled upon yet another attack on pedestrian access by the city's traffic engineers. I noticed that the crosswalk across Hidalgo Terrace (a cul-de-sac between 14th and 15th Streets, off the east side of Dolores Street) had recently been divided into half its original size, to 10 feet, in order to create two new parking spaces. The new spaces were short so cars parked in them often extended well into the already-squeezed crosswalk, and the parked cars marred the sight lines created by the wide sidewalks and crosswalks on this beautiful, historic street. I was appalled that the Department of Parking and Traffic (DPT) could be so insensitive, especially in a pedestrian- oriented neighborhood where cars already block the sidewalks with impunity.

I fired off a letter to DPT requesting that the crosswalk be returned to its former width and was surprised to receive a response a few weeks later from the department agreeing to consider it. I'm excited to report that after a preliminary public hearing, my proposal was approved in February by DPT's commission, so the crosswalk should be restored within the next few weeks.

Next time you catch DPT favoring the convenience of motorists at the expense of pedestrians (or cyclists), take matters into your own hands. You could be surprised at the results.