Light rail and pedestrians: Why not a crosswalk?
A light rail train was heading north on Howard Street in downtown Baltimore when it made a stop on the right side between Lexington and Saratoga. Dozens of passengers disembarked, and the vast majority of them crossed over the street in the middle of the block, just behind the train.
This may not be strictly legal but it is human nature. No amount of legislating or fulminating or lecturing will stop it. Rich or poor, black or white, male or female, young or old -- it seems we all want to get from Point A to Point B by taking a straight line.
My question for the city Department of Transportation is this: Given that this is how pedestrians react to this configuration of transit and street, why not create a crosswalk at the point where they are going to cross anyway? Even when pedestrians are in the wrong, drivers are obligated to avoid hitting them anyway, so why not provide that extra measure of protection to people on foot?
Here's a modest suggestion: Have one of those sharp traffic engineers with the department follow the light rail through town and chart where the passengers are crossing. Then design measures to protect them. It's not as if Howard Street was intended to be a fast-moving street for drivers.
Yes, the city could wait for a fatality. Or, at the risk of sounding unoriginal, it could "do it now."