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A Modest Proposal
2001-01-17 21:34:28


Special Ideas
 
If nothing else, we can always set a bad example.
-- Enigma

 

San Franciscan pedestrians are getting killed at a rate that's four times higher than the San Francisco murder rate. I've compiled a list of ideas for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on how to solve this appalling problem.

Aperture Radar Tire Puncture. Detroit automakers invented a system a couple of years ago that can warn you when your car is following too close to another car. Pay-to-park parking lots have spikes that pop up out of the ground that keep you from entering a parking lot through the exit. City officials could combine the two: putting pop-up spikes on city streets and radar to tell if a car is too close to a pedestrian. If the radar sees a car coming too close to a pedestrian, it triggers the spikes, popping all four tires of the car and giving the pedestrian time to get out of the way. Tie that in with a loudspeaker system that screams "PUT DOWN YOUR CELL PHONE AND PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE YOU'RE GOING" and you've got a system that not only saves lives, but also acts as a deterrent to inattentive driving.

Put Land Mines around Crosswalks. Just line each side of a crosswalk with landmines that are automatically armed when the light turns red and disarmed when the light turns green. This will keep cars out of crosswalks when pedestrians are crossing AND prevent red-light runners at the same time. It'll also serve as an incentive to keep pedestrians on the crosswalk and not dodging in between cars. Sure you'll lose an SUV now and then, but that will only serve as a powerful reminder to other drivers that they need to share the streets with people and bicycles.

Wall in the Sidewalks. Every time this problem is brought up on the nightly news, someone has to point out that the pedestrians share the blame for this crosswalk holocaust. Pedestrians jaywalk, cross when the light is red, and dodge between cars on San Francisco's busy streets. The obvious solution is to wall in the sidewalks. If the city would just build an 8-foot wall between the sidewalk and the street all the way around every city block, with openings ONLY at the corners, then people would HAVE to cross at the crosswalks. Jaywalking would cease and the police could use the time that they spend rounding up jaywalkers concentrating on more serious crimes, such as littering.

Gates for the Crosswalks. Once the walls are up, the next problem to solve is getting pedestrians to pay attention to traffic lights. To ensure that people only cross when the light is green, the city should install electronic steel gates on every corner that are synchronized with the traffic lights. The light turns green and the gate opens. The light turns red and the gate snaps shut. Not only will this keep people from crossing when the light is red, it'll also make them MOVE a little faster. Any dawdlers will get stuck out on the streets when the gates close, which is not a place to be when you've got a street full of oversized SUVs bearing down on you.

Ramps for Bicycles. Once you have walls around every block, it'll be a cinch to stick ramps on top of the walls for bicyclists. Get bikes up and away from cars AND pedestrians. Everyone wins!

Distribute Free Methamphetamine to Pedestrians. Once pedestrians are hopped up on meth, they'll be able to MOVE much faster and get out of the way when cars drive up on the sidewalk.

Arm Pedestrians (Shoot Bad Drivers). This is a win-win solution to the problem, because not only will you reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities and get rid of a lot of bad drivers, but you'll increase the murder rate too! Snotty journalists will no longer be able to say that "San Franciscan pedestrians are getting killed at a rate that's four times higher than the San Francisco murder rate." Problem solved!

So there you go Board of Supervisors, a complete package of technological solutions for a nasty problem. Sure, you could continue down the current path of trying to educate people to be considerate, and slow down, and pay attention, but who do you think you're fooling? No one in this city has time to waste! We have to HURRY. If you don't stop wasting time trying to educate the public and start implementing REAL SOLUTIONS, you'll only have yourselves to blame for the BLOOD on the STREETS.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

extra@pigdog.org


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