Letter: Give pedestrians a brake | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Give pedestrians a brake

Dear Editor:

With the busy holiday time upon us, I hope the visitors and summer residents who insist on driving their cars around our small, pedestrian-friendly town will read this.

Most of you are unaware that pedestrians in crosswalks have the right of way, and failure to yield can actually cost you a fine if the police happen to be around. I have had so many close calls over the years, trying to cross Main Street, and most of the time the drivers are oblivious, usually because they’re texting or talking on their cellphones.

Just the other day, my dog and I stood at the southern edge of the newly repainted crosswalk at Second and Main streets, trying to cross to the north, and watched at least 20 cars pass us at a high rate of speed, totally unaware that we were trying to cross. When a woman finally stopped for us, as is “the law,” the driver following too closely behind her suddenly slammed on his brakes and missed rear-ending her by only a couple of inches! How unfair that someone who did the right thing and obeyed the law almost got slammed into as a result.

I have witnessed people actually getting hit because they stopped for pedestrians and the person behind them wasn’t paying attention. There are also those who speed up and pass the car stopped for pedestrians, nearly running them over in the process.

I also wish the city would move the two pedestrian-crossing lights (one at Eighth Street and one at Garmisch) to a more prominent position where they’d be more visible. Many times I go out of my way to cross at those streets and push the button to activate the flashing yellow lights, but they are ignored by the majority of motorists.

We just had another pedestrian fatality two days ago, sadly, and I’m sure it won’t be the last unless people start slowing down and paying attention. Remember, you are operating a 1-ton weapon!

Pedestrians, too, have to be more aware and not assume that drivers will stop. Please, only cross at the designated crosswalks, and don’t jaywalk or walk down the middle of the street like it’s Disneyland. You have to pay attention, too, because you’re the one who will lose, no matter who is “right.”

I’d also like to bring up an unrelated subject for the holiday regarding dogs in the parade. Dog owners, if you love your animals, please leave them home on the Fourth of July! Remember, the “Golden Retriever Parade,” started by Sam Caudill years ago, was always at Winterskol in January, when the streets are (usually) covered with snow. On July Fourth, the pavement can be well over 100 degrees and can burn dogs’ paws. To subject a dog to that kind of heat, with no shade or water, for an hour or longer is just plain cruel. It’s also very noisy and crowded, so please leave them at home where they’ll be safe and comfortable.

Thank you, and have a fun and safe Independence Day!

Polly Ross


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