Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Greg Peck: Now if we could slow those drivers in downtown Janesville

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Greg Peck
November 6, 2015

I’m sure every business owner and manager in downtown Janesville is happy that Main Street is back open after summer-long reconstruction.

I stopped down to ship a package at the post office in Olde Towne Mall this week, using one of those new crosswalks that look like black bricks with white outlines. They’re sort of nifty; whether they survive wear and tear and winter plows remains to be seen.

But pedestrians shouldn’t expect motorists using these crosswalks to stop for them. As I approached the crosswalk near that mall’s main entrance, a car buzzed past. I stepped into the crosswalk as a second car behind the first zipped past, as well. I thought the driver of a third car in the line would ignore me, as well. I was surprised when this motorist braked.

I noticed that a new flexible sign in the middle of the street was already bent over. It’s suppose to remind motorists that state law requires that drivers yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. A vehicle seemingly had already struck and damaged it.

I had better luck using this crosswalk on my way back to the office. A driver in the outside lane stopped. I proceeded cautiously, seeing another vehicle approaching in the inside lane, but that driver stopped for me, as well.

I appreciate that.

I’ve written about the problem of drivers ignoring pedestrians in Janesville repeatedly. I’ve long ago given up expecting motorists racing down the Milwaukee Street hill to stop for me as I cross at Parker Place, a block up from Parker Drive. Besides, should one stop, the lead-footed driver behind might well plow into the courteous person’s stopped vehicle.

The other day, I saw a TV news report about police stopping and warning Madison motorists who ignored pedestrians in a crosswalk.

The warnings were meant to be instructional and heighten awareness. This after an 82-year-old man was injured by a driver Oct. 10, becoming one of the most recent pedestrian victims in Madison.

Police here should consider similar instructional programs to make our fair city safer, particularly given redevelopment plans designed to make downtown a more pedestrian-friendly environment.


Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or [email protected]. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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