Dear Tell All: I have really mixed feelings regarding the Tell All on reckless Madison drivers (“Madison Drivers Are Trying to Kill Me,” 2/6/2017). It’s true that Madison and the surrounding suburbs are terrible for pedestrians. Madison was just named the third-best city for walking in the nation. This kills me. I feel less safe here than just about anywhere else I've lived and walked (and I've lived in 13 cities from coast to coast). Routinely I feel drivers speed up when I'm in a crosswalk so they don't have to slow down and stop for me.
But it bothers me a great deal that the Tell All columnist just sweeps the letter writer — “Vulnerable” — under the carpet. It makes me feel the columnist isn't a pedestrian or cyclist and doesn't know what's it's like to be endangered.
I get close calls almost weekly in Middleton (both walking and biking). I report it when I get a license number, and I work with the police, government, community and city staff. Although some things get changed, I still feel at risk quite a bit. I used to let this eat me up. I was so full of rage and fear that I could barely enjoy my commutes. I have had to relax on this a bit so I'm not giving drivers the power to take the joy out of commuting from me.
Sadly this means I have to accept the fact I may be killed on Century Avenue while commuting to and from work since there is no other way for me to go. It is either accepting this while still working my butt off to change matters or choosing not to commute by bike and foot. And the latter choice would essentially let the distracted drivers win.
Dear K.: You are so full of rage and fear that you neglected to carefully read my response to Vulnerable, who also despairs over reckless Madison drivers. I did not “sweep him under the rug,” but instead 1) affirmed that Madison drivers should be more careful and 2) suggested that he pursue a more positive course of action than screaming and throwing rocks at pernicious drivers. I’m not being defensive here; I’m trying to point out that you need to calm yourself down even more before busting a blood vessel. I’m on your side, K., as are some of the people who left comments on the article.
Hats off to you for working on safety issues with Middleton government. I hope your efforts pay off and you feel safe enough to continue biking and walking on your commute. Even if you do have to stop, try to make your peace with it. Living in a perpetual state of resentment would be just another way of letting the distracted drivers win.
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