This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
Daniel Jack Chasan notes the explains:
Finally, a pedestrian-friendly city would be full of jaywalkers. Yes, jaywalkers. I believe in jaywalking. Getting around town on your own two feet isn’t practical if you have to stop at every red light. You can do it, but you can’t do it very fast. Of course, jaywalking can be dangerous. Many Seattle jaywalkers seem to lack that feral alertness that one associates with pedestrians back East; in fact, many of the pedestrians one sees ambling across Seattle streets have a clueless quality – run them down, and they’d never know the difference — that raises reasonable fears for their safety. Ideally, they’d be more aware of their surroundings.
I think that’s absolutely right. There’s a devil’s bargain implied in jaywalking. If you’re going to jaywalk (as I often do) the implicit understanding has to be that you don’t have the right of way, the car does. As a driver, it’s incredibly annoying to have to stop for people just ambling across the street.
When I lived in the Central District, I recall being unable to drive across town on either Union, Cherry, or Yesler without at least once having someone waltz lazily across the street right in front of me.
One imagines that these people would all have been killed off by now in a less forgiving city, thus preventing their genes from being passed down to future clueless generations.