Last weekend, I was heading across Bothell Way, in Lake Forest Park, to go running on the Burke Gilman trail. It was 7 a.m.
Before I made it to Bothell Way, there was a woman who walked up to the traffic light and pushed the button to get the crosswalk light. She pressed the button and then she waited patiently for the light to change so she could go.
From the time that she was seen walking up to the light to the time she pressed the button until she made it across the street, there was not one car in sight.
But in my nearly five years of experience in Seattle, this woman represents both the Seattle pedestrian and also the Seattle driver.
She could have easily walked across the road and back again probably three times before a car was visible. Why did she press the button, and why did she wait?
Meanwhile, when she finally did get the light to cross and was halfway across, a car did drive by that now had to stop at the red light that would have been green if not for her pushing the crosswalk button.
So, not only did she wait for nothing, but she then caused a driver in a car to have to stop needlessly.
This has been a curiosity of mine since I moved here. What is it that makes my fellow Pacific Northwest residents so law-abiding? Is it fear? Are they just so polite? Can they not think for themselves? Is common sense dead out here?
It’s worth mentioning that same crosswalk has buckets of red flags strapped to the street light poles so that people can cross with a red flag? When I was growing up, we were taught to look left, right and left again to make sure it was all clear before crossing a street.
Perhaps common sense is now uncommon sense, and it is dead?