Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

More “Nervous” Drivers Are Exactly What’s Needed

The deaths of two pedestrians and a bicyclist in quick succession in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood have local street safety advocates demanding reforms and the mayor promising swift action.

A vision for a safer Forbes Avenue has been advanced following the death of Susan Hicks near the University of Pittsburgh. Image: Bike PGH
After Susan Hicks was killed by a driver while biking near the University of Pittsburgh, this concept for a safer Forbes Avenue is gaining momentum. But a writer at the Post-Gazette thinks people walking and biking are the problem. Image: Bike PGH
false

So naturally a crack reporter had to interject that, hey, pedestrians sometimes break traffic rules!

A recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece by Ed Blazina adopts the perspective of a Port Authority bus driver who complains people on foot "create the greatest hazard." Patrick Miner at Network blog Rebuilding the Rust Belt says Blazina has done a masterful job illustrating the mindset that leads us to accept these deaths:

Disregard the overwhelming number of heavy machines (cars) with non-professional drivers holding smart phones, speeding dangerously on Forbes and Fifth. Forget the Public Works Department, the Port Authority, and PennDOT who’ve thus far neglected – grossly – to create alternatives to driving through the busy corridor. Don’t blame the universities for failing to institute and enforce a slow school zone through Oakland, where thousands of people cross the streets during rush hour.

No, the problem – the “hazard” – is all those damn people.

Blazina also wonders, "if these perils of the traffic nightmare in Oakland make professional Port Authority bus drivers nervous, imagine what those conditions can do to regular motorists."

But that's exactly what anyone operating a heavy machine on crowded streets should feel, says Miner:

People driving motor vehicles – having the unique capacity to kill – ought to be nervous. They should be concerned about killing someone if they don’t slow down and pay attention.

Instead, the family, friends, and colleagues of Susan Hicks are paying for the gross negligence of those blocking an immediate reconfigure of Fifth and Forbes through Oakland.

We can thank Ed Blazina for feeding the windshield worldview that enables city, state, and university officials to sit on their bloody hands.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Cyclelicious recaps an alarming new study that compares air pollution risks faced by bike commuters to those faced by drivers. Walkable Jenkintown makes the case for public financing of sidewalks. And Grist shares six big takeaways from the climate talks in Paris.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Friday’s Headlines Are Still Unsafe

Traffic deaths are declining for those ensconced in thousands of pounds of steel. For the rest of us, not so much.

April 12, 2024

Measure HLA Is Now Officially Law for L.A. City

Check the city maps to find what bus, bike, and walk improvements are coming to streets in your neighborhood.

April 12, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Women’s Transportation Seminar

Sara Stickler of WTS International on women’s expertise in transportation and opportunities for mentorship, leadership and education.

April 11, 2024

Don’t Call Thursday’s Headlines a Comeback

Transit ridership isn't all the way back yet, but it continues to climb after collapsing during COVID. Unfortunately, the financial effects of the pandemic on transit agencies still linger.

April 11, 2024

Long-Awaited Report Reveals Widespread Parking Crime by NYPD

The overdue report confirms years of Streetsblog reporting on placard abuse, illegal parking and enforcement failures by the police under two mayors.

April 11, 2024
See all posts