It is inevitable that we all see it… people in cars doing things that do not seem to be the most intelligent solution for their perceived problems. An extreme case in point was the woman who died in her car on the train tracks here in Menlo Park, CA, who, according to people who spoke with me, was in a rush to beat the train to the crossing and did not realize that it was not going to stop at the station here in Menlo Park. It was tragic and did not need to happen.
Speaking of not needing to happen, the intersection at Alma and Ravenswood here in Menlo Park has always been a curious center of activity. With an intersection next to the tracks and people always being in a hurry, it is a crazy intersection indeed.
As a pedestrian, I’ve been missed by inches as moms in mini-vans gun it to split the crowd of pedestrians crossing the street. Or the Mini that guns it to get past me as I step out into the crosswalk. I’ve even watched a child have to slam on their bicycle brakes and skid to a stop to keep from getting hit by a driver in a hurry.
For some of you, your hurry and inability to make good decisions will sooner or later get someone in trouble.
But this is a crazy odd intersection. Going south on Alma gets you to the library and the incredibly lush and green Burgess park. Going northward on Alma gets you to restaurants, a gym and some stores. It even gets you to street parking next to the Caltrain station.
And because of these destinations, sometimes people make seriously stupid moves to get to their destinations.
The city of Menlo Park has finally done something about that, much to the chagrin of many drivers. AND YET, some drivers are still making those same maneuvers, but now, doing it even more stupidly. (Until Menlo Park had to add MORE diversionary cones in the street to stop that.)
They have completely made it impossible… no, a bit tougher now to cross Ravenswood at this intersection, in the hopes (I presume) of keeping this hazardous intersection a little more safe. And they’ve tried to put a stop to right turns off of Ravenswood down Alma.
Now I do not know why they would, but they also blocked off making right turns onto Alma if you are headed eastward on Ravenswood… but don’t worry, people are still doing that every day by actually going around the road blocks and they are amazingly, still making that right turn at THIS intersection.
And if you look at the early vs most recent pics, Menlo Park has had extend the center street blocks because people were circumventing or going around those too.
They were even going around this to get up Alma
Never mind going around or taking the slightly longer path… let’s go through, over and skirt the obvious to get where you are going because you are probably in a hurry.
Actually, it is folks like that, that have more than likely been the root cause of why these new road conditions have been put into play. All in the name of keeping it safer. And some of you still went around them.
We need more police presence at this intersection so the dumb asses can get more tickets. I know that seems silly, but even when cops are sitting there in plain view, people still do stupid right in front of them, and subsequently get themselves tickets.
In one such situation that I was privy to because I was on the corner watching this scenario, the driver was blaming everyone but himself for getting a ticket, after gunning it and racing under the train warning barrier that was coming down.
People can be pretty entertaining at times, that’s for sure.
Every day for the last several years I have seen people gun it to beat the pedestrians crossing the street. I count myself lucky I haven’t seen anything horrible yet, and surprised I haven’t.
Most folks are good people who will stop to let you cross, but there’s about ten to twenty percent of you that are just in too much of a hurry.
Hell, even when you hit the crosswalk lights button, the pre-programmed voice says “cars may not stop…”
What the hell kind of society is this that we make leeway for the idiots who still break the law? Because that is where it is going.
From people getting caught running red lights by traffic cams, and claiming privacy invasion and other bull***t, to people being blamed for going through an intersection when it was not safe… on a green light… we are a funny people where slowly but surely the survival mode of “law of the land” is slowly taking over, despite our best intents.
So be careful crossing the street… whether on foot, bike or in car, you must be aware that you can only cross when it is safe to cross or it could very well be your fault. You can’t be one of those that steps out expecting to have the right of way. Laws are worded carefully and you might very well be surprised one day when you get run over.