Village Safety and Walkability
During the hustle and bustle of Saturday morning in downtown Davidson, my jaw dropped yesterday when I saw a dad with his three young children jaywalk across Main Street in the middle of traffic. What’s more, no one was holding the children’s hands.
My guess is that everyone reading this has either jaywalked or seen somebody jaywalk in recent weeks in the Village. It’s commonplace.
Equally common – and I’ve been guilty of this – is a driver’s glance to his or her left before making a right on red or a right on blinking yellow arrow – but not a look to his or her right. Yesterday, I was waiting for my walk sign to cross Main Street by Concord Road. If I had stepped into the crosswalk as soon as the walk sign was lit, I might have been struck by the car making that right turn. The driver either didn’t see me waiting there or didn’t want to wait for me to cross before him. He turned right in my path.
Davidson values its walkability and vibrant pedestrian downtown. Me, too. Most of the time, I feel very safe and grateful for this amazing local amenity. But my safety comes as much from my cautious nature as from the town’s lights, crosswalks, and signs. I never assume a car will stop for me at a crosswalk, and I always give a wave of thanks when one does.
I hope the Pedestrian Safety Task Force keeps in mind that safety is the responsibility of both drivers and pedestrians. From a community-building and cultural perspective, in addition to the mechanics of safe streets, what will it take for us to live up to our value of walkability?
Libby is a collaborative leader who spent her career leading change initiatives across the non-profit and health care sectors in Vermont and in the Charlotte region. Her recent volunteer work has included leadership on the boards of Clean Air Carolina, and the NC Infant and Young Child Mental Health Association. She serves on Davidson's Public Art Commission and the board of Davidson Housing Coalition. Libby enjoys finding win-win solutions, opportunities to learn and grow, the great outdoors, digging in the dirt, and spending time with family—including her five grandchildren.