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Countdown Clock Madness

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I don’t know about those new countdown clocks the DOT has put at the corner of Queens Blvd. and 71st/Continental. It sounded like a good idea and it just might save lives. But there’s something about the way they are designed that really bothers me. I think it is the fact that the countdown almost immediately turns a menacing orangish-red making the Queens Blvd. crossing, for this pedestrian anyway, even more unpleasant than it used to be!

I mean, crossing Queens Blvd. used to just be about looking every which way so you didn’t get clipped by all those crazy drivers as they sped through the intersection ignoring your legal right of way to walk across. Now, it is not only about that, but it is also about trying to BEAT THE THREATENING COUNTDOWN CLOCK!!!

Blvd. of Death, Meet Clock of Death!

Once again, it seems in this automobile-dominated culture, we car-less cannot seem to catch a break. These new clocks are basically broadcasting in bright red numbers: “Hey! You Pedestrians! You Are the Problem! You Are Walking Too Slow! You Are Not Paying Attention When You Cross!! STAY ALERT AND HURRY THE HELL UP!”

All well and good, except it is not the pedestrians who are killing the drivers.

My suggestion – change the clocks so they are a soothing aqua-green as they countdown, subliminally affirming our right as pedestrians to walk across our city’s streets, and lengthen the time we have to cross while you’re at it. What’s the use of giving us a countdown to get across if you still have to be this guy to make it in time?

Father, Daughter Hit on 108th St.

September 30, 2010 4 comments
Pedestrian crossing sign on Queens Boulevard i...

Image via Wikipedia

One of Edge of the City’s readers has contacted me about what she describes as “an horrific accident” that occurred last night at 108th and 66th Streets, across from Temple Beth Gavriel. This person says a father and his daughter were both hit by a car there while trying to cross. She says both were injured, but the last she heard they had survived.

“108th is notorious for speeders – something needs to be done or somebody will be killed for certain,” the reader told me. “What can we do, Drake?  We need to formulate a letter of sorts (to whom, I’m unsure) suggesting perhaps that the lights be timed so that it stops speeding?  That’s one idea I had.  Perhaps a camera to take photos of the speeders?”

As readers of this blog know, I have long been pushing for more time to get across Queens Blvd. (I honestly don’t know how the elderly can make it across as it is set up now, with just about 40 seconds to cross.) Now I’m hearing about these types of tragedies occurring on other streets in our neighborhood.

It’s so tragic because it really is so easily preventable if only the powers that be stopped favoring motorists over pedestrians. After all, a ton of us here in the City don’t even own a car and our feet are what we use to get around.


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