Pedestrians. A rant. By PittGirl.

Sometimes I am the driver.

Sometimes I am the pedestrian.

But you know what?  I’m a considerate pedestrian.  I walk when the sign says “Walk,” and if there are cars approaching, I don’t walk when the sign says “Don’t Walk.”  I learned this from Miss Fawcett in kindergarten.

So tell me, what the hell is up with the downtown pedestrians lately and their inability to obey the “Don’t Walk” signs?  I almost hit six pedestrians with my car today at four different intersections.

Apparently what we need these days is additional signs UNDER the “Don’t Walk” signs that read, “Hey, asshole!  WTF?  Are you stupid?  I SAID don’t frickin’ walk!  God!”


  1. Nikki
    September 4, 2007 10:20 pm

    that is hysterical! I think you should take your idea and make it happen…

  2. thejim
    September 4, 2007 11:21 pm

    There is a very famous story about me knocking the backpack off of a college student’s back with the side mirror of my truck at the corner of Bigelow and Forbes in Oakland because they ignored such a signal.

    My wife likes to tell that story when she’s trying to convince people that I’m as crazy as advertised.

  3. Gunn Lino
    September 5, 2007 12:25 am

    Having lived in several large cities it is only in the ‘Burgh that those walking deem it a birth right to cross the street (or the Parkway at 2:30 AM ) where they please, traffic signal or not.

  4. dxterra
    September 5, 2007 7:06 am

    I agree, pedestrians need to pay more attention.


    Whether anyone likes it or not, in downtown Pittsburgh, pedestrians have the right-of-way where a crosswalk exists. This is regardless of the condition of the “Walk/Don’t Walk” sign condition. It is the responsibility of the motor vehicle operator to yield.

  5. thejim
    September 5, 2007 7:56 am


    While this is true, it’s always been my policy to yield to the bigger object.

  6. the violet
    September 5, 2007 8:38 am

    Hah, Gunn Lino! Toushe!

  7. dxterra
    September 5, 2007 8:47 am


    Agreed. Big wins every time.

  8. Darwin Police
    September 5, 2007 8:59 am

    Regardless of right-of-way, if it looks like the oncoming car would have to brake for me to cross, I stay put. The laws of natural selection are greater than the laws of man.

    What would really solve the asshat pedestrian problem is a sign under the DO NOT WALK sign that reads “Hey asshole! You can’t sue the guy who hits you if you’re walking when you’re not supposed to!”

  9. Caryn
    September 5, 2007 9:35 am

    I agree with dxterra, and, legally, when the Don’t Walk sign is flashing, it remains legal to cross (that is the warning of the light about to change). As a frequent downtown crosser, I take a balanced approach – I allow the car to go if they are already going around the corner before I step out, but I expect the next car to slow and allow me to cross b/c they can see me patiently allowing the car before to go. But every once in a while some asshole tries to “rush” the corner and cut off the pedestrians. They rarely win with me (grin). I hate jerks who do not look to see if anyone is crossing. When I drive, I try to look for the pedestrians who are about to step off the curb. Just cause you are in a car does not give you all the power.

  10. Beware aggressive drivers
    September 5, 2007 10:12 am

    Because the Man send the wrong message. Instead of posting signs and blanketing the media with “Beware aggressive drivers” campaigns, they should target pedestrian morons with “Get the fuck out the way of big, heavy, forward-moving metal things on wheels comin’ fast at yinz guys before yinz get run over’n’at.”

    Hey, this may be insensitive – don’t they teach college students how to cross streets, roads, and highways anymore? Did they drop that from orientation?

  11. Goob
    September 5, 2007 10:47 am

    The intersection of Forbes and Bigelow used to be a classic! There was so much room on Bigelow that drivers could easily take the turn at speed. Which they did; those seconds are important, I suppose. Walking across that intersection between the lines was harrowing. But, on the pedestrian’s side, nobody ever did that. Those seconds are important, I suppose.

    I’ve always thought that what we need around here are more pedestrian-only cycles for the crosswalks, but we’re already screwed. If they put a walk-only cycle at that intersection, they’d tangle the traffic patterns all the way down to Elliott. What they did to fix it seems to work. If nothing else, they spruced that corner up a bit.

    My favorite insanity is the crosswalk at the entrance to Phipps, leading across Schenley Drive to Flagstaff Hill. It’s sixty feet of twin white lines with no lights, just feeble yellow signs proclaiming the pedestrian right of way, hidden behind the curve of trees and cars. It’s tricky to see the pedestrians, too. In the afternoons, small mobs of elderly visitors gather at the edge, testing the timing and weighing the trip through the traffic to get back to their cars. Sometimes, they get together enough mass and shuffle out anyway; the pack is more visible.

    At which point the lead car slows to a stop, and the second car honks, swears, swerves around, and blows through the crosswalk.

    I need to start walking to work with a maul.

  12. bucdaddy
    September 5, 2007 11:01 am

    Gunn Lino beat me (pretty handily) to the Parkway idiot.

    Part of the problem from my POV is pedestrians who stand on the curb but give no indication they play to cross. I slow and I watch and it looks like they’re going to stay put. About the time I step on the gas is when they step in front of me. Maybe it’s an age thing (I live in a town dominated by damn-fool college students).

    Don’t know if it’s still this way, but many years ago in Toronto pedestrians had to give a clear hand signal they planned to cross (one other than flipping the middle finger, I mean), and then vehicles had to stop for them. That seems fair.

    Oh yeah, I work in a newspaper office, and when someone on the scanner says “Vehicle versus pedestrian” I often say to the room, “The vehicle usually wins those.”

  13. Kelly
    September 5, 2007 11:21 am

    This post is perfect because just this morning I watched a little old woman with a cane wait until the light changed to cross the street. She stopped in the middle of the road and stared at the truck that was honking at her. I do honestly think it is getting worse by the day. It certainly makes me hate driving through Downtown.

  14. Stasia
    September 5, 2007 1:04 pm


    I’m honestly not sure I knew that. I knew that if a “Walk/Don’t Walk” sign *isn’t* present, then the pedestrian *always* has right of way. But even if there *is* one present, regardless of its condition? So, then, what’s the point?

  15. BH
    September 5, 2007 2:16 pm

    I walk to work and, unfortnately, there are quite a few drivers where I live who barrel through the intersection even when the “Walk” sign is up and the pedestrian has the right of way. I was almost nailed a couple of months ago by some old geezer who made a left turn even though I was in the middle of the crosswalk.

  16. Sofa King
    September 5, 2007 2:18 pm

    I’m sure Pittsburgh pedestrians can be a pain in the ass, but you should try driving through downtown DC during tourist season and dealing with all of the “tourons.” If it’s not the endless stream of foreigners from mud hut villages who have no idea how to act in a polite society, it’s the obese, slack-jawed Midwesterners who have apparently never ventured out of Bumfuck, KS. Throngs upon throngs of sweaty, unwashed masses sauntering around mindlessly from monument to monument, “standing left” on the metro escalators, and asking mind-numbingly inane questions to any poor local who crosses their path. It’s essentially a scene from “Night of the Living Dead,” except all the zombies are outfitted with digital cameras and “clever” F.B.I. or C.I.A. t-shirts.

    Thank God, the season’s almost over.

    P.S.- Wearing one of the aforementioned shirts while visiting DC is essentially just wearing a sign that says,
    “I’m not from here and I’m pretty much an asshole.” Save yourself the embarassment…don’t do it.

  17. Jen
    September 11, 2007 1:52 pm

    Hi-larious! PG, I witnessed this first hand in Denver today as a woman and her little white dog frantically ran across four lanes on a “Big Red Don’t Walk” light. Jeez… what is it going to take?????