If a Hit & Run on Main St Doesn’t Make You Mad as Hell, It Should

[Photo courtesy of 13WHAM News]

[Photo courtesy of 13WHAM News]

Sunday morning around 9:30, a 13 year-old was hit while crossing at the crosswalk at Church and Main in front of Hicks & McCarthy, right in the heart of the Village of Pittsford. Weather conditions were normal; there wasn’t a blizzard, it wasn’t dark and there wasn’t construction or other things going on. And before you wonder if the girl just darted out willy-nilly so the driver didn’t have time to spot her — the driver hit her and drove off.

If that doesn’t make you mad as hell, it should.

The village is one of the most walkable places in the Rochester region, yet we continue to struggle with the ghosts of outdated traffic infrastructure decisions that have drivers speeding through our neighborhood streets paying no mind to the surroundings. The walkability of the village is one of the primary reasons many families choose to live in or near the village, and we accept the traffic volume to have that walkability. And the independence the kids here have to get around without a car is something of a rarity in our car-centric country.

The Village of Pittsford was sacrificed for sprawl. It has been putting up a good fight against speeding traffic since the New York State DOT widened its main streets in the mid 80s, so that as much traffic could flow as fast as possible through them. “The Village opposed the plan, but like so many areas in our country, lost the battle to keep its Main St from becoming a high-traffic pass-through. Mayor Robert Corby explains: ‘NYSDOT widened streets and lanes, narrowed sidewalks, eliminated on-street parking, and added right-hand turn lanes. Despite no substantial change in volume flow, the intersection quickly became a pedestrian’s nightmare. The combination of the pedestrian unfriendly design and loss of on-street parking contributed to a significant exodus of retail business from Main Street. The Village still suffers from the ill effects of these “highway style” improvements.'”

Those of us who live along the village’s main streets put up with the traffic volume because we love the benefits of being so close to things that we can walk. But we live with the daily fear when our kids cross those streets to walk to and from school that they will be hit by a driver not paying attention, speeding or ignoring the surroundings.

People live around here.

What Can You Do?

  1. Stop for pedestrians when they are waiting at crosswalks in the village.
    It starts with those of us who drive. If we do it, others will catch on.
  2. Drive within the speed limit.
    Get in the habit of leaving enough time so you don’t have to speed or ignore things around you. Again, we as drivers are part of the solution to safer streets in our village.
  3. Call and email anytime you witness or experience a situation where speeding or aggressive driving is involved in the village.
    Email the Village of Pittsford or call: (585) 586-4332
    Email the Pittsford Town Supervisor or call: (585) 248-6220
    Obviously, if there is a crash or emergency, please call 911.
  4. Participate when the town and village have public meetings about things that will impact pedestrian safety and quality of life.
    The town and village are currently working on the final draft of the Active Transportation Plan, which aims to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
    The town just updated its Comprehensive Plan (or vision for the future of Pittsford), which impacts zoning, development, infrastructure
  5. And if you know anything about the hit and run this past Sunday, please report it via Crime Stoppers at (585) 423-9300.

Make noise and participate. Slow down. People live along these speeding streets. This is our neighborhood. And the safety and quality of life of every person who walks, bikes and drives along our village streets is at stake.

3 thoughts on “If a Hit & Run on Main St Doesn’t Make You Mad as Hell, It Should

  1. Brooke Fossey

    Thanks for sharing this with our community, Renee. I especially appreciated your actionable items and numbers to call. I’ve been thinking about this all day and it makes me so fired up. I hope Julia will be OK and this person comes forward. Every day we see people driving way too fast down our neighborhood streets. It’s annoying as someone who lives on one of those streets, but also downright scary when you’re out there as a vulnerable walker or biker.

    Reply
  2. Jackie

    This is all too big of a problem in many communities. My daughter and I are avid runners/bike riders and I have seen far too many times cars speeding by us, going dangerously close to us, pulling in front of us, running red lights and the list goes on. My husband is constantly warning us to be careful. People are far too distracted and in way too much of a hurry. If they only realized that their speeding and running red lights barely saves any time at all. Consider a six hour drive and going over the speed limit by 5 mph. You barely save any time so speeding in a 25-35 mph zone with constant lights really isn’t saving time but risking the lives of others! Our communities should be a safe haven that welcomes walkers, runners and bikers trying to exercise or just get around. The permit test concentrates so much on drunk driving, perhaps the fact that pedestrians ALWAYS have the right away should be more concentrated on and should be a reminder to all license renewals. Perhaps we should also have more advertisements on this subject as well. Thank you for posting this article!

    Reply
  3. Renee Stetzer Post author

    Thanks for your comment, Jackie. I started running when I was a teenager (thanks to my dad). I have run all over the world and am convinced that is what made me a pedestrian advocate. 🙂 I have witnessed and experienced so many scary driving behaviors while being on foot.

    You are correct — driving a little slower does not cost you much time, but it can mean life or death for someone on foot, bike, wheelchair, skateboard, village bench, etc.

    Reply

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