Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Skewed Views

The Daily Iowan has another article up about the police ticketing student jaywalkers between classes at the Clinton/Burlington intersection. Originally, I deemed this rather non-bloggable, a topic that resonates with locals and students but only provokes a bored shrug from anyone outside the area. But with quotes like this, I can't resist:
Though police champion the endeavor, many students complained about the increased enforcement.

"It's hard enough for students to pay tuition, said UI junior Chris Pryor. "Now [the city] wants to charge people for a petty crime?"

UI senior Chris Agyeman said the jaywalking citations were another way for the city to take money from cash-strapped college students.

A city-wide anti-student conspiracy? Ooookaaay. That's a tad skewed, don't you think?

I was a student at UI for eight years. In that time, I'll admit I perfected a method of crossing half a street at a time, timing my steps to coincide with and circumvent traffic without ever having to wait for the "walk" signal. When used correctly, the method is highly efficient, getting everyone where they're going without slowing anyone down. But this is not the type of refined traffic-dodging we're discussing here.

The Clinton/Washington intersection problem involves a constant stream of students crossing without any regard to the light whatsoever, bringing automobile traffic to a dead halt for ten minutes at a time. Worse yet, by Iowa standards, not one person in the pack ever bothers to mouth a silent "sorry" or a sheepish wave, or otherwise acknowledge the imposition. To the students in the middle of the stream: please don't tell me you're not aware that, at that precise moment in time, you're being a perfect asshole.

Not to put to fine a point on it.

There isn't a motorist in the city tht hasn't been held hostage by the masses, and it is highly frustrating. I've known otherwise kind, gentle people spurred to the point of deliberately revving the engine or otherwise acting as though about to inflict intentional bodily harm with an automobile, just to try to clear a path. I've seen these scare tactics translate into near-misses as tempers flare on both sides. I've seen pedestrians struck by slow-moving cars, and cars struck by crossing motorists. It's the definitive "accident waiting to happen."

So, while I wish the tickets were unnecessary (and they really should be), I agree with the locals that this was a long time coming.

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