Letter at Length

    Pedestrians tempt fate downtown

    As a 24-year resident of Ashland I find myself visiting downtown Ashland less and less. The biggest reason is because in my opinion pedestrians in Ashland's downtown area seem to think that they have the right to walk in front of oncoming vehicle traffic without even slowing down or looking before stepping off the curb.

    Several times over the past few years I was driving on one of the downtown streets, watching carefully for pedestrians walking off the sidewalk and into the street when, out of the corner of my eye, I caught one coming from the opposite direction and walking right in front of me. I have had to slam on the brakes several times this summer alone. I would truly hate to hit someone!

    In my opinion the problem seems to be getting worse. I can almost understand when a person is busily texting or talking on their phone and they carelessly walk right into traffic without even looking, but it's the ones that aren't talking to their friend or texting that literally walk right into traffic without so much as a care in the world. Also, what's really concerning to me is that I have seen Ashland police either ignore or maybe miss this taking place well within their view. Maybe they too are so distracted with all the pedestrians in the street they just missed it.

    Is it just me, or is blatantly walking in front of cars both dangerous to your own well-being as well as the many motorists on the roadway — and if it is not illegal, shouldn't it be? I think the Ashland police should start issuing warnings and/or citations to these folks and send a message to pedestrians that either find it amusing to play chicken with a motorist or are just plain suicidal. Natural selection used to keep these sorts of behavioral traits from perpetuating themselves, but not any more.

    I will severely limit my time spent at the many shops and restaurants downtown for this reason. I feel it has just become to much of a liability to operate a car in such close proximity to such careless, reckless and unsafe individuals and I don't know how I could stand to live with myself if I accidentally hit one!

    Todd Kemp


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