punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

SSTC: Day 2

Wow, what chaos. So here's the summary:

They shut off all access to the parking lot and bus lanes. They now have rerouted all pedestrian traffic to around Wayne Avenue. This alone adds 3 minutes to my morning walk to work both because of added distance and the fact they have ALL pedestrian traffic constricted in a narrow sidewalk flanked by a hurricane fence on one side and lots of auto traffic to the other. This slows everything down because the width of one sidewalk is not nearly enough for 2-way traffic of that large a crowd.

In fact, they have put these large bus terminals on half the sidewalks I take to get to work, and this has also created bottlenecks away from the stop. Many of the bus riding folk at this Metro hub are of the low income variety who may not have had supportive childhoods, and thus, they made some poor choices in social attitude and lack a general clue about how wandering slowly around with their iPod in narrow corridors has an effect on those around them. The drug dealers also are trying to find new patterns, which must be difficult because the police presence is a little disarming to those who dabble in the field of recreational pharmaceuticals. These self-starting entrepreneurs have friends who hang around who are probably NOT taking a bus today, and this makes for very difficult negotiation without having to walk around them by going into the busy street.

On top of that, they have crossing guards at several intersections. I had a traumatic event in my childhood when a crossing guard I had in junior high singled me out as "the bad kid" because she didn't seem to like fat people very much. She was a total whore-bitch on a scale where I am sure that while she's probably dead by now, her corpse should have been buried face down so it couldn't claw its way back to the living world. These SSTC crossing guards are a mix of old people and angry old people. Unlike the sweater clad, orange vested demon witch from my youth, these people have uniforms and lime-yellow vests stating their jobs. I feel both pity and anger for them because they are fairly clueless and ... fairly clueless.

One of them will be dead within a week.

Not because one of the many throngs of people trying to cross the street and getting stopped and yelled at will lose it and snap the crossing guard's neck and drink the blood from their spurting wounds like a lycanthrope, but because the buses aren't paying attention to anyone on the road. They never do. And while I am sure most bus drivers are decent people, a few are really terrible and aggressive drivers. In the almost 4 years I have been working downtown, I have seen the aftermaths of a few pedestrian vehicle impacts, and most of them are with a bus. I have already seen a crossing guard nearly get knocked over by a bus that whizzed past her by inches behind her back. She yelled at the driver, who didn't even pause or look like he noticed. These old people have slow reflexes, too, and I am not sure why they took this kind of work this late in their life.

I am not sure if the crossing guards are clueless because they are old, forced into work by a retirement home in desperate need of cash, or have authority issues with the cops... but they act very distracted. In many cases, they have people crossing *against* the light, which confuses the car and bus traffic to no end. Many times, [people don't know whether to believe the walk/don't walk symbols or wait from the crossing guard to stand away from the pole she is leaning on to face us, or what. I have stood with crowds who think, "D-do we go? Go now? Or wait? Do we go? Can we go? The light is green, can we... okay maybe not--yes? We can cross? Are you signaling to us of the people 90 degrees from us? Okay, why is the cop yelling at you? Ok, he said we can g-- oh, but you said stop and yelled at that homeless guy. Fuck, I hate this."

So this adds another 2 minutes to my walk to work. My rather relaxed and fast paced 5 minute walk to work is now at least a hectic and stop-and-go 10, and filled with enough danger that I don't feel safe listening to my iPod, because I have to keep all senses alert.

I hope this settles down. I have a feeling the crossing guards are only temporary until they die off or everyone gets used to the new traffic flow. Two years of this I'll have to deal with.
Tags: sstc
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