Photos by Anne Hart.
One of the most dangerous problems is when elderly pedestrians get up from the bus bench on Marconi Avenue to board the bus and bikers
As you walk down Marconi Avenue towards Watt Avenue, the litter in the street accumulates as if the people living here or walking here don't care about holding the fast-food wrappers and soda cans until they get to a can. One of the worse problems for years now are the speeding bike riders on the narrow sidewalks who are a danger to pedestrians, especially when the pedestrian rises from a bus bench to walk from the sidewalk to a bus that's stopping.
Often the pedestrian has to signal the bus driver that someone wants to board the bus, but the speeding bikers on the sidewalk give no chance to the pedestrian to walk toward the curb to signal the bus to stop--to let the driver know the individual is actually waiting for the bus and not just sitting on the bus stop bench to rest. And some bikers speed in the path of the pedestrian as the individual is about to board the bus.
An often repeated problem is when elderly pedestrians get up from the bus bench on Marconi Avenue to board the bus and bikers speeding on the sidewalk do not stop and try to frighten elderly slow walking pedestrians by turning their bikes as if to hit the pedestrian as the individual walks from the bus bench a few steps on the sidewalk to board the bus. The biker comes from the left or right at the exact moment when the pedestrian gets up to walk on the very narrow sidewalk to step toward the bus (or departs from the bus when the doors open). The biker doesn’t stop to let the elderly pedestrian board the bus, and the sidewalk is too narrow for both the biker and pedestrian as the pedestrian departs or steps to enter the bus.
This happened to me three times already on the narrow sidewalks of Marconi Avenue and on Watt Avenue as I rose from the bus bench to take the few steps on the sidewalk to board the stopped bus. The biker sped by, as if trying to hit me or simply unaware I was rising to board the bus. It’s extremely frightening. The biker would stop or slow down to let the pedestrian board the bus or would speed and tailgate the pedestrian walking down the narrow sidewalk. In each case, the biker was riding on the narrow sidewalk where there was a pedestrian, usually an elderly, slow-walking female. If there was a male present, the biker would not act in the same way and would show some notice of pedestrians walking or trying to board a stopped bus.
All looks wonderful and cozy for a refreshing walk until someone wearing ear buds, distracted and driving a bicycle comes speeding behind you, silently on the very narrow sidewalk (instead of using the bike path) making this scene of serenity a potential problem for pedestrians walking on a slight downhill grade/path to the stores a few blocks away. Just wish the bikers would give pedestrians the sidewalks and use the bike paths or petition for better bike paths.
Walking down Marconi Avenue before you reach Watt Avenue, the litter is incredible on the sidewalk, as if those throwing the litter don't care about the area, don't care that it looks neat and well maintained. Yet who picks up the litter such as the soda cans the people riding by on their bikes toss on the lawns in the area where residential areas combine with businesses on the same street. Amazing....Is there any way to motivate people to hold the garbage for the next can or take their food wrappers home with them in bags and put it in their trash cans?
You have shopping areas interspersed with businesses of all types. If only the bikers wouldn't keep running the pedestrians off the road, especially the older residents who don't drive and have to walk to shopping along the sidewalks daily. If it isn't the litter on the sidewalks, it's the bikers on the sidewalks, and now and then the loose dogs that rush out at pedestrians, dogs not on leashes as their handlers sit on the lawns of various businesses during the daytime.
There's also the homeless with the utility carts taken from supermarkets and other stores blocking sidewalks along with those in wheelchairs trying to reach the grocery stores on the narrow sidewalks competing with the bikers not using the bike lane due to the heavy traffic a few inches from them.
So where does it leave the pedestrian who must walk and has no other alternatives? Sometimes, you see older pedestrians picking up after the people tossing the litter, cups and cans of soda, fast-food wrappers and paper plates, banana skins, and other trash on the sidewalk or on the lawns of homeowners who have been here a long time. Many of the houses went up in the 1950s, and a lot of us are still here in the same homes.
Whatever the situation, bikes on the sidewalk seems to go hand in hand with litter on the sidewalks and lawns, even though the connection may be just the random rider tossing that soda can at the lawn while speeding by on the sidewalk, inches from crashing into the back of elderly, slow-walking residents who have no way of knowing a speeding bike is behind them on the sidewalk, possibly distracted by listening to music and tailgating the pedestrian's heels.