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As I See It

Crossing the street in La Crosse? Good luck



I just about got hit by a car yesterday. It wasn’t that close. I didn’t have to jump out of the way, but I did have to step back to the curb quickly as I tried to cross 7th Street in La Crosse. It certainly isn’t the first time. Far from it. For some reason in this town, it seems you are taking your life in your hands just trying to cross the street. Some of it can be blamed on inattentive drivers, or those who just drive too fast for conditions. But the city has done a horrible job of helping us have a chance by failing to maintain the crosswalk markings on the street. Most are faded or even nonexistent, and drivers hauling down  Third or Fourth can’t even see them until they are on top of them. Lighted crosswalks with flashing lights do get the attention of drivers, and most respect them, like near Gundersen or WTC. But elsewhere? Good luck. Maybe we should go back to the days when they put buckets of brightly colored flags on either side of the street, with pedestrians holding them high as they crossed the street. At least we’d have a chance. The city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will likely be busy soon with more talk of adding bike lanes downtown. But they should also make it a priority to make it easier for our children, our elderly and you and I to just get to the other side of the street.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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  1. John

    May 1, 2024 at 5:44 am

    Or, a suggestion may be to remove the air pods from one’s ears, put the phone away, and actually pause at the curb, look both ways and listen before attempting to cross when the gap is big enough. Yes, I understand that pedestrians have the right of way, but I would rather not get hit by a vehicle being piloted by someone stuck in their phone or otherwise distracted.

  2. R head

    May 1, 2024 at 6:53 am

    Didn’t your parents teach you not to play in the streets. Most liberals aren’t that smart. I bet you voted for Joe!!! Payne if you had a real job you wouldn’t have time to play in the streets.

  3. Lucenut

    May 1, 2024 at 9:12 am

    We couldn’t get so lucky as to have a milk truck run over Scott Robert Demon-rat.

    • Terri

      May 1, 2024 at 12:40 pm

      If you don’t have anything nice to say than don’t say it at all !!!!!!

  4. Char

    May 1, 2024 at 10:00 am

    As a frequent driver in La Crosse, people crossing the street need to look before entering the street to cross it. I have had to slam on the brakes because far too many times for people who just walk out in front of vehicles without looking first. It is next to impossible to stop for someone who steps out in front of a vehicle doing 25+ mph. Driving large commercial vehicles are even more difficult to stop.

  5. Tom

    May 1, 2024 at 10:15 am

    Did you look both ways before stepping out into the street? Everything we need to know to to live in our society we learned in kindergarten.

  6. Dane Melby

    May 1, 2024 at 11:58 am

    I am one of the bicyclists that drivers should love, I pay attention and respect the CORRECT right-of-way. When drivers stop to wave me on where I do NOT have the right of way, I get mad at them for mucking up the system. It is not being polite, it is making a mess of stuff. Know and maintain your right-of-way and yield when it is NOT your right-of-way. That said, yes drivers in La Crosse are awful on the whole at noticing and navigating around/with bicycles/pedestrians. And it has NOTHING to do with politics you small-minded opportunists! It is about simple situational awareness…PAY ATTENTION!

  7. nick

    May 1, 2024 at 12:40 pm

    I am glad that you were not hurt. Drivers usually obey traffic signals and stop signs in the downtown area of LaCrosse.
    Otherwise, stop signs and especially red lights have become suggestions.
    As an avid biker, I would bike three to four times a week when I lived in the Quad Cities but up here not so much. I do not trust the drivers so have a dedicated route that is 12 miles( six out and six back) that keeps me on the sidewalk between North LaCross and the Onolaska YMCA.
    After living there for ten years and now here for six, I can unequivocally say that the governments in the Quad Cities really understand quality of life issues.
    I am not sure anyone here understands the concept.

    • R Head

      May 2, 2024 at 9:33 am

      Sounds like you should move back there to the land of liberals. We would all be better off.

  8. walden

    May 2, 2024 at 12:48 am

    Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. So many pedestrians while looking at their phone or otherwise inattentive walk in front of many tons of moving steel to cross the street. I’ve seen some close calls and some autos get hit from behind due to quick stops required to avoid pedestrians.

    All avoidable.

    Common sense can’t be replace by white lines or blinking lights.

  9. Thomas Lane

    May 2, 2024 at 7:20 am

    Have you actually READ the law regarding pedestrian “right of way”?

    • Tom

      May 2, 2024 at 8:55 am

      Laws can’t over ride getting hit because someone enters the street when it was not safe to do so. I do not take on 3000+ lb vehicles at crosswalks. Neither should anyone.

  10. Cat

    May 2, 2024 at 11:58 pm

    As long as we mainly focus on letting cars go as fast as they want and moving people off what are essentially car-priority streets, nothing will change. Everyplace, including sidewalks, driveways, and intersections will be dangerous until the priorities change. A new initiative might make a little difference until street design and enforcement make car drivers behave – crossing bricks (not flags). https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/bricks-vancouver-crosswalk-pedestrian-safety

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