Letter: Carmel in the minority on trail crossing traffic
I would like to point out that, for better or worse, Carmel’s desire to elevate the priority of motorists above trail-crossing traffic, ostensibly for the sake of trail users’ safety, has put it squarely in the minority.
The most obvious example of places where we see abundant pedestrian crossings are college towns, where pedestrians rule and motorists are conditioned to yield. Another common example are dense, touristy downtown areas, where often the locality will even place a supplemental “STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS” type sign in the middle of the road to further elevate pedestrian priority. In these types of places, and in all of Western Europe, striped, signed pedestrian crossings sometimes supplemented with warning lights are explicitly or by convention given priority over road traffic.
Regardless of the technical aspects of the law, which might state whether or not the pedestrian has begun to cross within eyeshot of an approaching vehicle, the habit of motorists in these types of places is to yield immediately upon seeing anyone waiting to cross.
At first blush, Carmel is exactly this type of place. And thus it is why motorists behave as they do. Most of them are not reading the conversations taking place in local papers and hearings regarding how to reconcile all the local and laws regulating the exact moment in time at which a pedestrian or motorist may have the right-of-way, arguments for safety or efficiency, or how to change the habits of people used to the long-established conventions of similar walkable places around the world.