I’ve been involved with the issue of pedestrian safety on State Street for more than two decades now so when Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns asked me to snap some pictures of the “desire paths” around and through the fences and hedges the city had “strategically placed” to discourage people from crossing the street at the Central Library’s main entrance I was eager to oblige. Word is that Chuck’s open letter on the topic has created a stir at Tapley Street and around City Hall.
Infuriating because I feared for this older gentleman as he made the dangerous crossing:
What I failed to notice until I passed by the library just yesterday however, is that the traffic itself is quite literally going out of its way to destroy the most prominent feature of the engineering profession’s failed attempt at a fix:
Can you see it? Automotive impacts are eating away the concrete and have eliminated entire segments of the safety rail. Imagine the inconvenience created if someone notices and these stairs are closed off to the general public while they await repair. I mean, if anyone ever used them it might create an inconvenience. Actually, since that stairwell provides the ONLY official pedestrian access to the lot, shouldn’t the entire lot be closed? You can’t have people entering and exiting the lot via the automobile entrance or down the embankment…”officially” I mean…since nearly 100% of visitors actually DO that already. But the city can’t admit that by just allowing this ridiculously expensive, unused, and now NOT TO CODE (is it?) stairwell to just sit there as is…can they?
Actually, the lady who was sitting on the concrete ledge waiting for her bus to arrive told me it had been like this for a long, long time. It does make for a nice place to sit and wait for the bus at least. Something to add to the list: broken clocks, blind squirrels, and ridiculously expensive over-designed staircases.