|But at some point it all seems ridiculous to me because while yes, I do get frustrated with drivers who think stopping for crosswalks is optional, I've been hoofing it every day of my life for the last 11 years and...I'm here. And I'd rather live in a world where walking is feasible than in a world where everyone is hunkered down behind their alarm systems in their suburban assault vehicles driving three parking spots down to the laundry room (my old neighbors did that.) And the simple fact of the matter is, we can't have it both ways. We can't cater to these irrational fears AND have a world that is safe for pedestrians.
ITA! I live in a city with heavy traffic and a lot of careless, self-centered drivers, and for that reason I'll make my son wait longer than I did to cross the street alone--like, maybe 6 years old instead of 4. By the time he's 15, I expect he'll be able to wander around the city by himself, on foot and on transit. I will tell him to avoid the neighborhoods that have frequent drive-by shootings, I will insist that he obey the law against pedestrians on the Parkway (near our house, but there's a bridge over it), and I'll require him to take a friend if he's going hiking in the big parks.
Just before I got pregnant, a co-worker and her dog were killed by a car at the very intersection where she'd petitioned for a stoplight.
They were crossing legally, in a marked crosswalk, on a street where cars are SUPPOSED to go 25mph. Of course I was terrified for my own safety, even more than I had been; I've been hit by cars myself 3 times, but all at low speed causing nothing worse than scrapes and bruises. It was tempting to stay in my house forever. But I got out there and kept walking. When my baby was born, I walked everywhere carrying him in a sling. At 15 months he took his first walk around the neighborhood on his own feet...and when we got to a curb, he stopped and looked around--not exactly looking both ways, but showing a very clear awareness that we don't just dash out into the street; we pause and evaluate the situation.
So now we walk and talk about watching the traffic, about red lights and green lights and waiting for the picture of the walking person, about walking between the white lines, about how we can see that car is about to do a wrong thing and stay out of its way to be safe. He is catching on. Teaching safety skills is a much better way to protect him than forbidding walking.
It is entirely possible that Laurel's student or someone in his family had a bad experience that resulted in their rule. But in general, I think it's ridiculous and actually reduces his safety in the long run.