Lucky ducks survive country’s top ‘mean streets’
I was on my way to pick up my son from preschool on Thursday when traffic came to a complete stop. I looked around, wondering if there had been an accident or if a car stalled. Nothing. Was an ambulance or fire truck coming? Nope. Then I saw it. Lunch-hour traffic had stopped for a duck and a duckling crossing the six-lane highway.
Isn’t that sweet?
This is the city …
- that topped the list of the Mean Streets 2004 report published by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, which said that 3.69 per 100,000 people died in pedestrian accidents here.
- where children holding hands across the street are killed and put in the hospital by hit-and-run drivers.
- where students are killed using the crosswalk on the way to school. Or getting off the school bus. Or trying to get to a bus stop.
- where mothers pushing baby strollers are killed. And killed. (Imagine the aneurysm, heart attack and stroke I had when I learned a visiting relative had been pushing my then-18-month-old son along the highway.)
- where a pedestrian is hit by not one, not two but five cars.
- that has almost as many of these
as it does stoplights. It has so many “drive safely” signs and memorials, in fact, that county commissioners approved a policy to standardize them because there are so many and people can’t agree on whether or for how long they should be posted.
This is the city where the woman who killed my dog right in front of my house still screeches around the corner practically on two wheels (with an organ-donation bumper sticker on her car, no less — so many organ-laden pedestrians, so little time?) ignoring this
and must be confused about the big 2 and 5 on that other sign, thinking it means minimum speed limit.
Stop for babies, children, students and mothers? Eh. Not so much.
But ducks? Yeah. We’ll stop for ducks.