In a previous blog posting, I talked about the fact that Metra, our commuter rail system, is getting tough on people who do stupid things like running in front of a moving train and walking around crossing gates when they’re down. A lot of people have been cited and have paid fines for doing this.
Now I’d like the Village of Arlington Heights to get tough on some real stupidity.
I usually take a train into the city that reaches Arlington Heights at 6:10 am. When the train stops to pick up passengers, it blocks traffic on the cross streets that run through downtown. The doors where I board typically line up in the same spot every day, which happens to be right in the middle of Vail Avenue, a busy two-lane street.
(If you look at this map, the spot I’m talking about is up and to the left of the little blue train icon.)
So, a typical scenario should be:
(a) passengers wait on the sidewalk or side of the road, waiting for the train to approach, while cars and other vehicles drive up and down Vail Avenue;
(b) the train approaches and the gates come down, causing Vail traffic to stop;
(c) passengers move into position and board the train when the doors open.
Maybe it’s because it’s early or maybe it’s due to a serious lack of common sense, but several of my fellow commuters insist on standing right in the middle of the street several minutes before the train approaches, presumably to make sure they get a good seat on the train when it does arrive. Then, when a car comes barreling down Vail in an attempt at getting wherever someone wants to be at 6:00 am, they honk and swerve around the people standing in the middle of the street.
And my favorite part is this: the people standing in the street always give the car drivers really dirty looks, as if the commuters have a right to stand in traffic.
This spot is right next to a Jewel Food Store, so there are always trucks rushing up and down the street, heading to the store to make deliveries. At least once a week I see someone ‘this close’ to getting hit because they’re not paying attention or thinking about their right to stand in the middle of traffic.
One of the very first things my parents taught me was to not stand in traffic. I know, this seems very basic, but I seem to be in the minority. My concern is that one of these days I’m going to witness something I don’t want to see at 6:00 am.
Not that the AHPD needs more to do, but I think some basic education could be effected by the writing of some tickets. As I mentioned, I’m all for Natural Selection, but I’d rather see someone get a ticket than wind up under the wheels of an S Rosen’s Bread truck.