According to Opposing Views, a group of concerned citizens in Tacoma, Washington, are taking pedestrian safety into their own hands.

A frustrated group of citizens in Tacoma, Wash., is putting down “rogue crosswalks” as concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety have intensified. Now the city says it plans to prosecute anyone caught making a rogue crosswalk.

The group, Citizens for a Safer Tacoma, has painted five rogue crosswalks and said it will break the law if that means saving lives. The group said at least 15 members have been hit by cars. When they asked the city for help, the anonymous group members said they were turned away.

Back in May, the group painted a crosswalk at a large intersection on St. Helens Avenue overnight. Just two weeks later, the city had workers grind the crosswalk out of the pavement.

While the city said it wants to address concerns about crosswalks, the holdup comes down to money. The city spends up to $1,000 to remove the illegal crosswalks and it would have cost the city about $1,000 to put a legal crosswalk there itself.

Businesses in the area said the vigilante crosswalk painters are demonstrating the frustration everyone feels with the city.

One of the hallmarks of a civilized society is that pedestrians have rights that automobile operators are expected to honor. In a third-world country, such as India or most of the Middle East, drivers have the right of way (in practice if not officially) and pedestrians are expected to fend for themselves.

Israel is a third-world country – at least it was when I was living there. Pedestrians had no rights whatsoever; either they learned to move out of the way quickly or they ended up dead.

One problem I took issue with was the Israeli habit of parking on sidewalks. As the father of small children, it incensed me to think how my kids would be required to walk around those cars, into the dangerous street, to reach their destination. It especially angered me that some of them blocked the sidewalks my daughter needed to use in order to get to school. I used various methods to express my disapproval.

I always carried large white stickers with me. They said “The sidewalk is for pedestrians.” I would stick them on the offender’s windshield directly in his field of view. This would be most effective during the hot summer months when the sun would bake the stickers, and melt the glue onto the glass. I relished the thought of those drivers spending time scraping them off. One large truck, which used to regularly be parked directly in front of my daughter’s school, disappeared after a few treatments. In his case, the iron grates in front of his windshield (for blocking Palestinian rocks) must have made it especially difficult to remove the stickers.

Sometimes I would keep on walking, dirty shoes and all, right over those cars. I would literally walk on top of the cars, leaving my tread marks on the hood and roof.

There was one stretch of sidewalk, also on the way to my daughter’s school, that was particularly wide. Across the street from it was a construction site. Numerous drivers would use that area as a parking lot. They would park diagonally, so that pedestrians had no choice but to walk into the street in order to pass. I would visit during the wee hours of the night and carry large rocks, from the construction site, over to the sidewalk. I would place them alongside the curb so that they formed a barrier. Anybody wishing to park in that area would have to first leave his car and remove some of the rocks so that he could get his car through.

Some drivers did just that. Upon inspection during the day, I would find rocks moved to the side and the cars parked as before. My response was to return the rocks to their rightful place – right on top of the cars. Yes, the drivers would return to find large rocks on top of their cars.

Each night I would repeat this ritual, using larger and larger stones. This went on for a month or two. One day, when I was walking by, I noticed that my rocks were all gone – but in their place was a metal fence, obviously placed there by the municipality. My message had been taken to heart and others had joined my cause.

God must have been with me through all this; not once was I accosted by an angry driver. Not once was I physically confronted or threatened.

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