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Lanier teacher and students struck by car running red light on Alabama


sidegate

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I've crossed Alabama at various times of the day thousands of times since I moved into the neighbourhood 10 years ago. The difference between what it was then and now is chalk and cheese. I know this is all part and parcel of urbanization and I accept that part of it - but the way the whole Alabama reconfiguration was steamrollered through - i.e. switch and bait - still sits very uneasily with me. I archived all my e-mails with the city on this issue, for all the good they'll do me or the neighbourhood. Anyway, many drivers, and a fair guess is that they predominantly commuters, treat it like it's a major artery, when it was never designed to be anything of the sort. How many major arteries have teachers leading a crowd of 12 year olds on a neighbourhood jog after school gets out? Here's one more thing that gives this neighbourhood character that will likely pass into memory all in the name of "Keeping Traffic Moving". I'm generally a fan of Bill White but he messed up badly with this particular street.

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I've crossed Alabama at various times of the day thousands of times since I moved into the neighbourhood 10 years ago. The difference between what it was then and now is chalk and cheese. I know this is all part and parcel of urbanization and I accept that part of it - but the way the whole Alabama reconfiguration was steamrollered through - i.e. switch and bait - still sits very uneasily with me. I archived all my e-mails with the city on this issue, for all the good they'll do me or the neighbourhood. Anyway, many drivers, and a fair guess is that they predominantly commuters, treat it like it's a major artery, when it was never designed to be anything of the sort. How many major arteries have teachers leading a crowd of 12 year olds on a neighbourhood jog after school gets out? Here's one more thing that gives this neighbourhood character that will likely pass into memory all in the name of "Keeping Traffic Moving". I'm generally a fan of Bill White but he messed up badly with this particular street.

I agree that the street needs to be reverted, but I don't think that is the issue when in regards to this accident.

From my experience the trees need to be trimmed to allow drivers to see the lights from a distance. Also take into account that the sun was probably positioned (as it generally is this time of year) where it is difficult to see the street lights.

Of course, never mind the fact that the coach didn't do his own due diligence in LOOKING to make sure all cars were stopped before he started across the street. Like I tell everyone: just because you have the right of way to cross the street, doesn't mean a car is going to automatically concede it to you.

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There's probably blame to go around, but the volume and intensity of the traffic on the road certainly didn't help matters and won't in the future. We can agree I think that the road is handling more traffic than it was designed to and that the resulting stress on the system is going to increase the likelihood of accidents, particularly at junctions.

The report didn't say anything about a driver stopping or being cited....

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There's probably blame to go around, but the volume and intensity of the traffic on the road certainly didn't help matters and won't in the future. We can agree I think that the road is handling more traffic than it was designed to and that the resulting stress on the system is going to increase the likelihood of accidents, particularly at junctions.

The report didn't say anything about a driver stopping or being cited....

That particular intersection does have its share or problems, particularly since I have to do a triple right so I can safely gun it across the street.

From the news last night, the 65 yr old driver was cited for running a red light, but that's pretty much the extent on this.

I kinda' wonder how the inevitable lawsuit is going to go on this one.

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many drivers, and a fair guess is that they predominantly commuters, treat it like it's a major artery, when it was never designed to be anything of the sort. How many major arteries have teachers leading a crowd of 12 year olds on a neighbourhood jog after school gets out?

I don't see how accidentally running a red light because you're driving into the sun has anything to do with the middle lane configuration. -LINK

I drive it daily. It was and is a major artery... and that's coming from a neighbor. I don't see the present lane configuration or your terming it an artery being synonymous with "need for speed". It appears this accident would have happened regardless of speed. Furthermore, you don't know that the driver wasn't a neighbor as well.

Also.. kids, parents, teachers, anyone should be looking both way before crossing any street.

While this driver is 99.9% at fault, I agree with Ricco. These 2 kids and coach were stopped at the intersection; They got complacent and it seems like they weren't paying much attention if they then stepped out right in front of a fast-moving car just because they had the right of way.

Edited by Highway6
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It was and is a major artery... and that's coming from a neighbor.

Either you misread my post, or are being tendentious. W. Alabama was never designed as a major artery, but has been tarted up as one in order to keep East West (read: commuters into and out of downtown) traffic moving at as good a clip as possible. Speed is very much an issue on this road....and that's coming from a neighbor.

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I don't see how accidentally running a red light because you're driving into the sun has anything to do with the middle lane configuration. -LINK

I drive it daily. It was and is a major artery... and that's coming from a neighbor. I don't see the present lane configuration being synonymous with "need for speed". It appears this accident would have happened regardless of speed.

Also.. kids, parents, teachers, anyone should be looking both way before crossing any street.

While this driver is 99.9% at fault, I agree with Ricco. These 2 kids and coach were stopped at the intersection; They got complacent and it seems like they weren't paying much attention if they then stepped out right in front of a fast-moving car just because they had the right of way.

Totally agree, the configuration has nothing to do with auto-ped accidents, but it probably does contribute in car on car crime.

While I'm not defending the driver, I believe there were contributing factors, including the trees interfering with line of sight to those signal lights. I usually get a fairly healthy amount of honks near Stanford, Yoakum, and Mandell because I slow down to be able to see the lights. At the posted speeds, one generally can't see them until you're practically on top of the intersection due to those annoying trees. Again, the evening sun doesn't make it easier either.

Edit:

proofreading is your friend.

Edited by ricco67
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Either you misread my post, or are being tendentious. W. Alabama was never designed as a major artery, but has been tarted up as one in order to keep East West (read: commuters into and out of downtown) traffic moving at as good a clip as possible. Speed is very much an issue on this road....and that's coming from a neighbor.

Neighbors speed as well. It's not just a commuter thing. You don't need the middle lane going in your direction to speed if you have no cars directly in front of you. Speed can be an issue on every road, including 1 lane roads.

I speed a little bit pretty much everywhere I go, including Alabama, Westheimer, or Richmond, however I may choose to drive E-W any given day. I don't however run red lights or walk out into intersections before looking both ways, and I'm smart enough to drive significantly below the speed limit if I have the sun in my eyes.

My issue with your post is you chose the wrong accident to rant against the "switch and bait middle lane configuration that still sits very uneasily with you" .

This accident had zilch to do with speed and zilch to do with the middle lane configuration,

Edited by Highway6
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http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7221007.html

Waiting for something like this to happen. W Alabama's has been a trainwreck since Spur 529.....

I think you mean Spur 527, which was built nearly 50 years ago. That's a mighty long trainwreck.

Its reconstruction a few years back did little to change traffic patterns. I lived one block off W Alabama (near the Spur) from 1985 to 2008, and think the removal of the traffic light at Garrott St was a big mistake, as was eliminating the bicycle lanes. Motorists started treating it as a quick shortcut, with speeds to match.

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The center lane changing directions depending upon commuter patterns and time of day is a terrible idea. It was promised as a temporary fix until the new Spur was completed. The Spur has been complete for awhile now...

I hate that I can't turn left now onto my own damn street so that others who don't live in the neighborhood can whiz on by more quickly. I also hate that the bike lane that I used to ride on to UH is gone.

That said, my biggest complaint with West Alabama occurs on the West side of Kirby Drive when the road configuration turns into 2 westbound lanes, a turning lane, and a single eastbound lane. People driving East simply drive in the turning lane for very long stretches when they see the backup at Kirby. My mom lives on Ferndale and she's been hit head-on while she sat in the turning lane.

Unfortunately, the real issue is that people are simply terrible drivers (and/or selfish people who assume laws don't apply to them).

Eventually, there is going to be a major head-on collision. I've seen people drive at full speed for blocks while in the turning lane. This also occurs on West Alabama between Kirby and Shepherd. I'd love to see traffic cops on the scene one day to issue citations similar to the sting they set up on the West Loop/59 interchange (busting all the drivers who fly down the Bellaire/610 South lanes only to dangerously cut people off who had patiently been waiting in traffic in the northbound lane).

Edited by KinkaidAlum
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Even when in a car it's a good idea to check the road to be sure no one's coming before you go. That was the mistake of the peds.

I don't buy the "I didn't see them" If you can't see people walking across the street in time to stop (assuming said driver is going at or around the speed limit), you don't need to have a license, or you were distracted by whatever was more important than driving at the time.

This guy got off easy with just a ticket for running a red light, he should have gotten attempted manslaughter, especially with kids involved.

I don't see how the sun could have been a factor at 5pm, it's still not low enough on the horizon to interfere with the lights, let alone being able to see people in the middle of the street.

Edited by samagon
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Even when in a car it's a good idea to check the road to be sure no one's coming before you go. That was the mistake of the peds.

I don't buy the "I didn't see them" If you can't see people walking across the street in time to stop (assuming said driver is going at our around the speed limit), you don't need to have a license, or you were distracted by whatever was more important than driving at the time.

This guy got off easy with a running a red light, he should have gotten attempted manslaughter, especially with kids involved.

As a driver that has hit TWO pedestrians and near misses with countless others in downtown in over 20 yrs of driving, some simply assume that they have the right-of-way and will cross in all sorts of situations without the fear of being hit.

It was fortunate in one case, I had a cop as a witness, and another in which they were obviously crossing in the middle of a street. In both cases I never got a ticket. Considering how much some people on this system rag on cyclists for taking interfering with the flow of traffic, pedestrians are also highly capable of douchebaggery when they try to "invoke" their right of way.

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As a driver that has hit TWO pedestrians and near misses with countless others in downtown in over 20 yrs of driving, some simply assume that they have the right-of-way and will cross in all sorts of situations without the fear of being hit.

It was fortunate in one case, I had a cop as a witness, and another in which they were obviously crossing in the middle of a street. In both cases I never got a ticket. Considering how much some people on this system rag on cyclists for taking interfering with the flow of traffic, pedestrians are also highly capable of douchebaggery when they try to "invoke" their right of way.

oh no doubt, peds that do not cross at crosswalks, do not wait to walk until the lights are in their favor, they should be 'at fault' for their own stupidity. the same goes for cyclists, or other non-motorized vehicles using the roads.

I don't proclaim to be innocent, I'll walk across a street at random points, and I'll walk when the sign says don't walk, but I have enough sense of self preservation to wait for cars to pass, and to look before I even think about entering the street. The same goes for when I am on my bicycle. even if I have the green light, I still look, and I even do it in my car, cause I enjoy living.

even still, when I drive I try to remember that I am in a 1.5 ton object traveling at speeds that physics dictate isn't going to lose momentum if I hit a ped or a cyclist, and I do keep an eye out for potential stupidity, cause whether it's my fault or not, I don't want to hit a ped or anyone else. and besides, I enjoy honking profusely at the douches who don't at least look before they walk, so I pay attention for any possible scenario when I can do it :)

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I've been a pedestrian in Houston for nearly thirty years, and have been struck by cars three times.

Each incident required medical attention. Each time the driver was 100% at fault. Lest you think this is some moneymaking scheme on my part, in only one instance did the driver's insurance pay my medical bills.

I cannot count the number of times I've waited, and watched cars speed across the crosswalk 2 or 3 seconds after the light has changed. Almost NEVER do drivers check to their right when making a right-hand turn from a stop sign. "Look both ways" applies to cars, too. I've taken to banging on people's hoods to alert them that I'm crossing in front of them, after the second accident. If they scowl, screw 'em. I don't feel like getting my leg broken again.

Yes, there are careless pedestrians; but even the most cautious is no match for the [deleted] arrogant drivers who think they're entitled to speed or 'stretch' (run, actually) a red light. I agree with Samagon: "This guy got off easy with just a ticket for running a red light, he should have gotten attempted manslaughter, especially with kids involved."

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I've taken to banging on people's hoods to alert them that I'm crossing in front of them

Sued? Really?

So far as assaults, cars have license plates. Drivers can be traced. And I will press charges.

Pounding on someone's car when they are in it is asking for trouble. Period. You have no right to do that. Period.

Yes, if they came out and assaulted you, you could sue their ass... you'd get rich, but you'd still deserve the asskicking.

Red will have to step in on this one. I believe in tort law - if you pounded a car with the driver in it... the car would be considered an extension of the driver, you would in essence be assaulting the driver and they could file civil charges.

I'm not sure what your actions would have to entail for criminal charges to be pressed. At the least, there would be destruction of property.

If you pounded my car, for any reason, at an intersection. I would immediately phone the cops and follow you till they showed up. I would make you financially regret it as much as I could.

Back in 06 here in Montrose, some jacka$s pounded angrily on my wife's truck at an intersection when she had her middle school-aged brother in the car with her. Scared the everliving crap out of both of them. If you've ever done that to a woman driver or when kids were in the car, that would make you an extreme p.o.s.

_________________

Edited by Subdude
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I may be misunderstanding here, but I read it as dbigtex hitting a car to alert them they were about to run him down at a crosswalk as they made their right turn. That sounds like self-defense to me.

I used to live near the intersection where those folks were hit. Walked around with a baby in a stroller a lot. Scary. Where I live now, I've seen a driver run a red light at high speed in front of an elementary school. At 8:00 a.m. I'm sorry, I'm not giving one inch here... the driver ran a red light, the driver is at fault, this should not be a forum about how stupid pedestrians are and how they should be more careful.

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I may be misunderstanding here, but I read it as dbigtex hitting a car to alert them they were about to run him down at a crosswalk as they made their right turn. That sounds like self-defense to me.

Whether a pedestrian is crossing the street the car is approaching on, or crossing the street the car is turning into , you're still supposed to look both ways. You never just assume your pedestrian right of way when you're going up against several thousand lbs. Make eye contact with the driver at the stop sign before crossing the street. In Dbigtex's example - If he's not paying attention to you and you don't think he sees you, then guess what.. you wait. You yield your right of way. You don't continue to cross the street in front of the car just because you are "in the right". If you know the driver has not seen you since ""Almost NEVER do drivers check to their right when making a right-hand turn from a stop sign"... then you'd have to be dumb to still step out in front of them.

I read it as dbigtex being ticked that the car wasn't yielding to his pedestrian right of way and pounding the car accordingly. He doesnt have the right to do that. That is not self defense.

Unjustly losing your right of way doesnt justify violence. If my car and another car both stopped at a 4 way intersection at the same time. If I'm on the right, I know I have the right of way... but I'm not just going to assume the other driver knows that I have the right of way. I'd continue slowly while making eye contact with him. If he decides to go for it in front of me, I do not then have the right to ram him just because I had the right of way.

Use common sense.. a pedestrian shouldn't step in front of any moving car, turning or not, right of way or not, if he doesn't think the driver has seen him.

Edited by Highway6
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Pounding on someone's car when they are in it is asking for trouble. Period. You have no right to do that. Period.

Yes, if they came out and assaulted you, you could sue their ass... you'd get rich, but you'd still deserve the asskicking.

Red will have to step in on this one. I believe in tort law - if you pounded a car with the driver in it... the car would be considered an extension of the driver, you would in essence be assaulting the driver and they could file civil charges.

I'm not sure what your actions would have to entail for criminal charges to be pressed. At the least, there would be destruction of property.

If you pounded my car, for any reason, at an intersection. I would immediately phone the cops and follow you till they showed up. I would make you financially regret it as much as I could.

_________________

That would be interesting to find out!

I've had some tool pound my car when I was a foot or two into the crosswalk (I had to go forward a tad to avoid being tapped from behind) and some moron did exactly that. I would have screamed something at him if it wasn't for the fact that at that moment someone hit the leadfoot behind me.

Had it done to me again at the rodeo last year when I apparently couldn't inch fast enough to get out of the way for them to jaywalk.

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That would be interesting to find out!

I've had some tool pound my car when I was a foot or two into the crosswalk (I had to go forward a tad to avoid being tapped from behind) and some moron did exactly that. I would have screamed something at him if it wasn't for the fact that at that moment someone hit the leadfoot behind me.

Had it done to me again at the rodeo last year when I apparently couldn't inch fast enough to get out of the way for them to jaywalk.

it used to be very common in NYC (well, a friend told me this, so I'm going on his word) for people to put half empty softdrink cans, or cups on the hoods of cars that would pull into the crosswalk.

In my car, I got tired of being worried about people being able to stop behind me, so I usually start stopping for a red light well ahead of where I could, it also saves my brakes. if people behind me don't like that I am stopping for a red light a couple hundred feet before where they would start slowing, they either go around me, or just sit behind me being pissed that I didn't wait until the last possible second to stop.

doesn't do much to help if I am already stopped and someone waits till the last second to do their stopping, or if I have to slam my brakes after a light changes to yellow.

right of way, and who should have priority is only as good as the other people on the street. that doesn't abdicate the person who didn't yield the appropriate right of way from being at fault in an altercation, but it does make good sense for people to assume everyone else on the street is an aloof idiot to be as alert as possible and give up some right of way to ensure their safety.

keep in mind also that erratic behavior attracts attention, and people will be more likely to give you a wide berth. So as a pedestrian, flailing your arms about madly, and swerving as you walk may look silly, but it may also save your life because the drivers will steer well clear of your path :D

Edited by samagon
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I may be misunderstanding here, but I read it as dbigtex hitting a car to alert them they were about to run him down at a crosswalk as they made their right turn. That sounds like self-defense to me.

I used to live near the intersection where those folks were hit. Walked around with a baby in a stroller a lot. Scary. Where I live now, I've seen a driver run a red light at high speed in front of an elementary school. At 8:00 a.m. I'm sorry, I'm not giving one inch here... the driver ran a red light, the driver is at fault, this should not be a forum about how stupid pedestrians are and how they should be more careful.

it used to be very common in NYC (well, a friend told me this, so I'm going on his word) for people to put half empty softdrink cans, or cups on the hoods of cars that would pull into the crosswalk.

In my car, I got tired of being worried about people being able to stop behind me, so I usually start stopping for a red light well ahead of where I could, it also saves my brakes. if people behind me don't like that I am stopping for a red light a couple hundred feet before where they would start slowing, they either go around me, or just sit behind me being pissed that I didn't wait until the last possible second to stop.

doesn't do much to help if I am already stopped and someone waits till the last second to do their stopping, or if I have to slam my brakes after a light changes to yellow.

right of way, and who should have priority is only as good as the other people on the street. that doesn't abdicate the person who didn't yield the appropriate right of way from being at fault in an altercation, but it does make good sense for people to assume everyone else on the street is an aloof idiot to be as alert as possible and give up some right of way to ensure their safety.

keep in mind also that erratic behavior attracts attention, and people will be more likely to give you a wide berth. So as a pedestrian, flailing your arms about madly, and swerving as you walk may look silly, but it may also save your life because the drivers will steer well clear of your path :D

Thank you. I'm glad that you 'get it'. I'm not interested in insisting on my right of way; if I see a car has been waiting for a break in traffic, I'll wave him ahead. And I do try waving, shouting "hello? HELLO?" before banging on someone's hood. That's a last resort for the truly clueless. The car that broke my leg was at a dead stop when I entered the crosswalk, then inexplicably decided to creep forward. While he was on his cell phone. While looking only to the left. And now I must insist on eye contact, because having your leg broken sucks.

Someone on this thread appears to be an angry, aggressive driver. Slow down and enjoy life.

Excellent advice. Driving is transportation, not a competitive sport. When it becomes a contact sport people get hurt - or killed.

I'm confused, is the spur 529 the same spot that is now called spur 527 on GoogleEarth? or was the accident near another location...

It's Spur 527. The accident happened on W Alabama, about a mile west of the Spur. Personally, I see no connection.
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Thank you. I'm glad that you 'get it'. I'm not interested in insisting on my right of way; if I see a car has been waiting for a break in traffic, I'll wave him ahead. And I do try waving, shouting "hello? HELLO?" before banging on someone's hood. That's a last resort for the truly clueless. The car that broke my leg was at a dead stop when I entered the crosswalk, then inexplicably decided to creep forward. While he was on his cell phone. While looking only to the left. And now I must insist on eye contact, because having your leg broken sucks.

Excellent advice. Driving is transportation, not a competitive sport. When it becomes a contact sport people get hurt - or killed.

It's Spur 527. The accident happened on W Alabama, about a mile west of the Spur. Personally, I see no connection.

The connection is that West Alabama was reconfigured as part of the 527 and 59 reconstruction project 5-6 years ago. When 527 was shut down, the plan was to route all downtown traffic from 59 onto Shepherd, and then to Richmond, Alabama, and Westheimer for a couple of years. People freaked, and they at least added the Main St. exit and some other modifications. Alabama went from a 2 lane road with middle turn lane to a 3 lane contraflow street. TxDot and the city assured everyone that the changes were temporary, and all the realignments would be returned to their original condition after 527 reopened. Years later, they have never been changed back.

So I think what Sidegate is saying is that the temporary reconfiguration of Alabama (which is now permanent) has contributed to more traffic and higher speeds along Alabama and that having two westbound lanes of traffic create a greater opportunity for accidents than when there was only one lane in each direction.

Edited by capnmcbarnacle
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