Street smarts

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review. I’m certainly looking forward to warmer weather—and I’m stoked that time has sprung forward, leaving us with an additional hour of daylight in the evenings. It’s so nice to get out for a walk with the dog. But, as I am sure many of you can also attest, it’s a bitch to try and cross the street in Reno.

I relocated from far northwest Reno a few months ago, and I’ve been pretty shocked—and more than a little dismayed—to find that crossing the street in my new neighborhood on Arlington Avenue can be pretty scary. When my dog and I arrive at a crosswalk, we sometimes have to wait for half a dozen or more cars to pass before we’re able to use it. People simply don’t slow down—and I swear I’ve actually had people speed up when they’ve seen me. If I had a flashing sign above my head that said “liberal journalist,” perhaps I wouldn’t be so surprised—or confused.

But I just don’t get it. I don’t get why people are so aggressive when they’re driving. Last week, I saw two cars in as many days accelerate off the line at stoplights toward pedestrians who’d not gotten out of the crosswalk before the light for cross traffic turned green. I don’t get that. Why would those drivers risk another person’s life? Why do drivers shout at other drivers and pedestrians and honk their horns, flip the bird and yell obscenities? I mean, would these same people go berserk if someone passed too closely to them on the sidewalk or in the grocery store? Outside of their cars, would they flip the bird and tell another person where to stick it? I think not.

People need to stop treating their vehicles like they’re some kind of great equalizer, something that makes them powerful. Inside or out of our cars, we’re all still people—so let’s treat one another that way.