Walk this wayBy John Horgan
Pedestrians are not always a top priority in the suburbs. After all, communities like these here in San Mateo County have been built with the automobile in mind, first and foremost. Hence the growth of mammoth shopping centers and their acres of free parking.
The matter of safety for those who walk can be an issue. Earlier this month, a number of folks protested traffic conditions along a portion of Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park. San Bruno's Alice Barnes has complained for some time about a dangerous situation on San Mateo Avenue along the Caltrain rail line in that town. And, of course, crosswalks throughout the Peninsula can be perilous places.
In San Carlos, officials have tried something different. They have instituted a system that employs orange warning flags. It's an experiment at a crosswalk at the busy intersection of San Carlos Avenue and Chestnut Street near a senior citizens' center.
If you want to cross busy San Carlos Avenue at that point, you wait for traffic to clear, grab an orange flag, and carry it to the other side. You deposit the flag in a handy receptacle for the next person.
We tried the setup the other day, and it seems to work.
Drivers, who don't have a stop sign on San Carlos Avenue at Chestnut, cooperated very nicely. Perhaps it's because we walked briskly and waved a pleasant thank you. Whatever, it was not a problem. The very low-cost ploy has merit. Maybe it will spread. We can hope.
Copyright ©2004 San Mateo County Times. Published 02/17/2004.