I was stopped in my car at the intersection of Garvey and Garfield streets, waiting for the signal change so I could make a left turn and go west on Garvey Avenue. On my right, I saw an elderly man step off the curb to cross Garvey although he was facing a red light and a "don’t walk" signal. Then I heard a loud horn honk and saw a huge MTA Bus careening across the intersection going in the direction of the old man. I gritted my teeth, and said "Oh No!" to myself.
The Metro bus screeched to a halt. The old man collapsed of fright on the pavement of the first car lane. The bus did not hit him, but the old man lay completely down on the pavement.
Other pedestrians looked at him, but did nothing. They scurried across Garfield to make sure they made the green light.
The old man struggled to get up and finally was in a sitting position. He looked dazed and confused. Maybe he thought he was going to get hit and his entire life had passed before him.
Finally, the signal changed and the bus was able to swing around the old man, who was still on the ground. But, then other cars behind the bus began coming through – though carefully because they realized that something was wrong.
I picked up my cell phone to call 911 when a familiar face appeared. He was a city employee who had stopped his truck to see what was going on.
He quickly called for help on his city radio and went to help the old man. He really couldn’t help him because the traffic was building up. Wearing an orange shirt like many city street department workers, he proceeded to direct traffic around the old man. The old man was still sitting on the street, blocking a traffic lane.
By that time, I had gotten the signal light change for me to turn and the car behind me tooted its horn to get me moving. I drove on and don’t really know what happened after that.
I’ve gotten on my soap box several times suggesting that we need crossing guards to help the elderly get across some intersections. People (public officials) just smile at me, indicating that they think I am nuts.
I takes a long time to get a green light on Garvey Avenue when you are trying to cross Garvey. Even while driving it seems like a long time. Many pedestrians, especially if they either don’t understand the signal system or believe are traffic savvy, can be seen cutting across the street when they think it is safe. I know drivers get impatient. People will walk against red lights, when the turn signals are directing traffic in the opposite direction.
I have seen people of all ages cross diagonally against the light at Garvey and Garfield and at Atlantic and Garvey. They usually are trying to catch an MTA bus.
I have witnessed elderly people using "walkers" try to cross Garvey. Boy, that is scary. They begin too late and walk too slow. And, the drivers are very impatient.
Every year, the cities spend tens of thousands of dollars on crossing guards for intersections near school. A few are located along busy streets. The crossing guards also regulate the crossing of adults, as well as the children. I think the safety of senior citizen is just as important as young children.