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Don’t block the buses, you’re not that important

Walking around campus yields a menagerie of sights, sounds, and experiences. One of the more mundane experiences for walkers, and more infuriating experiences for anyone in a motor vehicle is pedestrians strolling through a crosswalk. This behavior isn’t bad, in fact its very necessary to allow for a walk-able campus. However the pedestrians often find it easy to ignore people in cars as they are legally required to yield. That combined with the popular mantra of, “Please pay my tuition”. This leads to pattern lack of empathy from those pedestrians. I would like to put forward a few reasons that you should consider taking five seconds to let a bus or car go.

            The first of my reasons deals specifically with buses. On a bus could be anywhere from 10 to 40 people. With each one of them trying to get somewhere. The cost to let a bus go is maybe five seconds for a pedestrian. We will consider the oversimplified scenario where a bus would only be inconvenienced by five seconds if you walked in front of it. This is almost never the case as it will usually take up to a minute for the bus to get another window as other pedestrians follow your example and walk too. In the given scenario a five second delay for a bus becomes a societal delay of 10 x 5 = 50 seconds if the bus only has 10 people in it or 40 x 5 = 200 seconds if the bus is closer to capacity. Your 5 seconds is not worth inconveniencing 200 seconds from society.

            The second of my reasons is the subjective value of time. The average walking speed for a pedestrian is 1.4 meters per second or 3.1 miles per hour. In five seconds a pedestrian can get 5 x 1.4 = 7 meters or 23 feet. Almost the length of a semi-truck or small bus. In five seconds of travel at the campus speed limit (25 mph) a bus can get 132 meters or 436 feet. A single second for a bus is worth 7.8 times what your time is worth in distance terms. Not only are you inconveniencing society in time, but you are physically blocking forward progress.

            This was a bit of a rant but as a pedestrian myself I get frustrated at my fellow Americans lack of empathy and situational awareness. This week, just consider those vehicles waiting at crosswalks. Take five seconds and allow society to progress, don’t be a burden to it.