A Perilous Crossing

An alert — and frightened, and angry — “06880” reader writes:

What’s with the crosswalk at Landsdowne, near Stop & Shop?  I was walking there yesterday. I pressed the button on the side of the road, at which point little tiny lights started flashing. I stepped gingerly into the road.

A truck barreled through the crosswalk, even though I was several feet into it.  Do drivers truly not know what the little flashing lights, white painted lines and fluorescent green signs with a silhouette of a walker mean?  Isn’t it a state law that drivers must stop if a person is in the crosswalk? A federal law?

Whether it’s a law or not, drivers — especially on Westport roads — don’t always care.

The crosswalk sign — with tiny lights — at the Landsdowne condominiums, opposite 1655 Post Road East.

“Gingerly” is the right way to proceed. Also “carefully.” And “with the expectation no one will stop, and I could die.”

It’s happened here before. Billy Ford — a popular Westport schools custodian and Trader Joe’s worker — was killed on December 23, 2008. He had just gotten off a bus, and was crossing the street to his home at 1655 Post Road East.

The crosswalk — with blinking lights that can’t be seen in daytime — might actually do more harm than good. Pedestrians may have a false sense of security after pushing the button.

Drivers — distracted by all the signs and traffic on this stretch of the traffic-light-and-stop-sign-less road, and by their cellphone, GPS, car entertainment system and god knows what else — may not see the crosswalk in time.

Or the pedestrian in it.

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