Everyday at USF I feel like I’m risking my life. Not by trying the new mystery meat special at the Caf or walking through the Tenderloin, but by crossing the street at Turk and Roslyn Terrace. No matter what time of day, I am terrified that a car may choose not to stop, and sometimes they don’t. The law says that if there is someone standing in the crosswalk, the car must stop and allow them to cross. I guess people in San Francisco are too busy with their own lives and would rather end another than be late for whatever it is that is so important.
There have been countless times that I have tried to cross the street and had to stop in the middle of the road to avoid a car speeding through the crosswalk giving me the stink-eye. I was in the crosswalk and had the right of way. There should be some sort of pedestrian horn I can honk. Maybe I should wear a brightly colored sign that says, “Don’t hit me. I’m a pedestrian student trying to get to my class.”
Sometimes the disregard for traffic laws does not stop at just speeding through the crosswalk. There is the inappropriate hand gesture that is shot out the window, the occasional yell out the window: “Hey! What are you doing in the road?”, or the drive by hit-on that is usually followed by that sleazy whistle. But my favorite was when I was trying to cross the street to get to my morning Spanish class and one side of the street stopped for me to cross, so I proceeded to cross the street with the usual fear that comes over me. Just before I could get to the other side safely on the sidewalk, a car speeds through the crosswalk, almost hitting me, and then stops. The female driver then rolls down her window and yells, “What the (insert your choice of profanity here) is your problem? People are trying to drive, get out of the (choose again) street!”
Why are drivers on Turk so hostile towards USF students trying to get to class? I thought it was bad last year just crossing that death trap maybe six times a week. But now, living in Loyola Village, that crosswalk is the one I use when leaving my residence to try to get to main campus and also the route I take to get home every day. I cross Turk at least 2-4 times per day.
I know the obvious solution is to walk down a block to where the crosswalk has a light, but why should I have to inconvenience myself to appease these selfish and reckless drivers?
Either there should be a big neon sign that says pedestrians crossing or there should be a light at that crosswalk so that students can get to and from class safely. Most students cross at Turk and Roselyn Terrace. They shouldn’t have to fear for their lives when doing so.
Erika Heyer is a junior politics major.