EDITORIAL: Maybe it’s great for agility training, but the crosswalk has to be fixed

Having video games come to life is, for the most part, a pleasing prospect. Think about it. What kid didn’t dream of being a real-life Pokemon trainer?

However, one game that is better left on screen is Frogger. Just think of all the times that poor frog met his digital death on the grilles of careening neon automobiles (and, inexplicably, water).

Yet, that’s something we find ourselves experiencing every time we have a hankering for a burrito or a cup of coffee and have to brave the dreaded walk across Munroe. In fact, tales of oblivious, speeding drivers not stopping for students (even when they’re in the middle of the crosswalk) are all too common.

Not stopping for a frog is one thing, but we’re pretty sure that knowing that humans have the right of way is required on every driving test.

Thankfully, Susan and Doug Brown, parents of Lily and Emma, stepped up after a formal complaint to the city went unacknowledged. Now, instead of just crossing ourselves and praying that the cars miss us and our brittle, brittle bones, we can wave a bright flag to get their attention.

The folks over by McKinley Park have the same problem on H Street and, like us, somebody got tired of the constant assault of one-ton metal death machines and set up a flag system. All testimony we’ve heard says that, for whatever reason, cars will brake for people holding an orange flag.

We don’t know why, but the prevailing theory is that it reminds people of somebody who works for CalTrans and who can actually punish them if they don’t respect the right of way.

That being said, we’re a little peeved by the fact that a parent did something before the city did. If Jesuit can move mountains to make everyone stop on the super-highway that is Fair Oaks Boulevard, is it impossible for us to have something to protect us?

We’re not alone in this issue, either. Both the neighborhood association and the administration at Sierra Oaks Elementary School have put in formal complaints.

Now, we’re not as big as Jesuit. We don’t expect a stoplight to be put in the middle of Munroe. It will just annoy people and make their commutes that much longer. And, to be perfectly honest, it won’t really serve much of a purpose between 8:20 and 3:25 beyond making people resent our school.

No, what we need are those flashing LED’s. For those of you who have gone on the Ashland trip (or have chaperoned), you know them as the lights that prevent us from becoming pancakes when we cross the street our motel is on.

For those of you who aren’t, the concept is simple. It’s one of those pedestrian crossing signs with a button on it. When pressed, LED’s at the top of the sign flash on and off, letting everyone know that there is someone in the crosswalk.

It’s easy, effective and cheap. (Well, cheaper than stoplights, anyway. Nothing is cheap when the city’s involved.) Nobody has to have their commute significantly lengthened and we get to remain three dimensional. Everybody wins.

This story was previously published in the print edition on May 26, 2015. On Thursday, May 28, the city of Sacramento’s traffic engineering department proposed adding a pedestrian refuge island to the crossing, along with rectangular rapid flashing beacons, according to John Perez, who works in traffic engineering. These lights would be triggered by buttons for pedestrians on either side of the road.

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