Downtown Irritation

A little "Life in Downtown Seattle" anecdote for you:

Today, while I was returning to work from lunch I was walking my usual path along First Avenue: A quick tug of the door to insure it locked, walk foward, admire the pigeons pecking at dried puke on the sidewalk, make a wide circle bypass around the somewhat odor-ful fellow who has been living in the darkened doorway of the Plymouth Housing Group office, squeeze past another pedestrian on the overcrowded section of sidewalk in front of Ohana's outdoor seating area and arrive at the corner of Blanchard. Cars are stopped on First, waiting for the light. Two young businessy type guys are waiting for the light to change on the opposite corner. I look to my right to see if there is any one-way traffic approaching towards me. Confirming that the street, as usual, was completely free of cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles or flying saucers, I step out into the intersection to safely cross - yes, against the light. Not a problem when there is absolutetly NO ONE is coming.
Two steps into it do I realize why the young businessy guys are waiting for the light instead of crossing themselves - a quick on/off of a siren and I see a motorcycle cop sitting behind me, also waiting for the light. I give a tilt back of my head and a shrug of my shoulders in a complete "Good Grief" gesture and step back to the curb. The guys across from me? Laugh merrily.

No harm done - no ticket or anything. But as I completed my walk back to work I got to thinking how completetly ridiculous it was that this police officer even noticed me or cared as I looked around at the prevailant graffitti and the 5 homeless for any 1 businessy type. Why the hell is SPD putting time, thought and effort into harrasing common pedestrians when Belltown overall is so under-patroled as to lead to alley lurking crime, club scene shootings and smelly fellows sleeping in a doorway of First avenue in broad daylight???

This is not a rant about any one of those things in paticular - I know and accept that it is all part of living where I live. It's not okay - people should be able to go out to a club without getting shot, walk to the corner store without gettitng threatened and smelly dude needs some serious help & love from the society that rejected him- it's not okay but I accept it.

What I don't get is Seattle's unhealthy approach to pedestrians. Coming back to the office I was consoled a bit by reading this article by Daniel Jack Chasan. At least I'm by FAR not the only pedestrian who feels this way.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

That article made the rounds of our office last week, and yeah, it is a totally bizarre phenomenon. There are a handful of people who will cross against the light on 3rd Avenue, but one of my co-workers received a ticket for jaywalking a while back...

Granted, I rarely went downtown in St. Louis when I lived there, and everywhere else I have lived has been small towns, but Seattle pedestrians are an odd bunch. Of course, I stand in place at the corner, waiting for the little white man to appear.