We here at Con Daily love a good story about a citizen activist stepping in to correct a problem of government bureaucratic incompetence, especially when that do-gooder is punished for his good-doing. Not that we like government incompetence or punishing the good guys -- it just makes for a good story.
Meet Anthony Cardenas, a Vallejo, CA man who was fed up with a dangerous intersection at Sonoma Blvd and Illinois St:
I tried helping my community out. I got tired of seeing people get run over here all the time.
People run over! All. The. Time!
So Cardenas got out a bucket of paint and put his own crosswalk on the intersection. Then the city scraped the crosswalk off, and Cardenas was arrested and charged with vandalism. [CBS]
Why did the city respond that way? Perhaps taking a look at the intersection might help:
There already is a crosswalk there! Sure you have to cross Illinois St. to get to it, and then cross back over if that's not the side you want to be on, but there hardly seems any pressing need to add another crosswalk there.
And as for those people who get run over all the time? The city had no record of a pedestrian being struck at that intersection.
Would it make sense to add another crosswalk? Maybe, but traffic planning is a pretty complicated subject. There may well be a good reason why the crosswalk is only on one side -- there doesn't appear to be any difference in the street layout on either side, but we're not experts on this. We do know however that crosswalks don't protect people. The paint doesn't make it suddenly safe to cross the street there. The crosswalk is an indication to the pedestrian of where it is safe to cross, so painting a new crosswalk potentially adds danger, telling people to cross at a location where it isn't safe to do so.
As much as we love a story of the little guy fighting the big stupid government ...today we just don't have that story.