Walking on the street in SH, I just realized what is wrong with this place. So I was walking across this giant intersection, and I do mean giant because everytime I had to put in the high gear and used my dash speed at the first moment the walking sign turned green in order to barely make to the other side, provides there were many cars making their right turn and cut me off in the middle of the intersection. Let's put this way, to walk across these modern looking six-lane intersection is a matter of courage, full mindness of being ready to die, or fight, and a secret pray that the drivers will let you pass, or the guy next to you will block the hit for you.

    This doesn't sound good. So SH puts out an army of social workers on the street to manage these intersections. They can be spotted with uniform and often a flag in hand. I was just starting the dash when the uniform turned to me and clearly warned me to use the zebra line. The zebra line is a good 20 steps away from where I was, and with the cutting throat of count down I have with the walking sign, that's a lot to afford. Well, well, being a good citizen of nobody, I moved towards the zebra line.

    Then all of sudden, it came to me. That's it! This is what is wrong with zebra line. Everbody knows the line is meant to protect the pedestrians. But watch, the cars turning to this direction were making the right without slowing down a bit! A few approached cautiously were not gonna stop either. They were reluctantly brought to a halt because a few brave souls in front of me walked on with a spirit of "you stop or dare you I have a gun". So if the cars were not observing pedestrians on the zebra line, what's the point of asking us to use it, and take it one step further, what is the point of having the line at all!? To me, it felt almost like aggregating all the dispersed pedestrians onto the lines so the drivers have an easy time to aim and fire in batch mode. Or maybe the line provides camouflage of some sort that does make me invisible, or invincible, or maybe a special power to battle the upcoming steel. Well well, that's quite an imaginative wish, isn't it?

    Zebra line is really a form a social contract . Like any other contract, both parties enter the deal must hold their ends in order for the contract to work. If any drops the ball, the other one will have no incentive to (and should not) observe the contract anymore, and that's exactly what is going on with these zebra lines. What's the point of asking me to step on the zebra line when nothing is stopping those cars?

    Instead, let's cancel the turn-right signal while there is a walking sign on. No more opportunist. When I walk, all cars that can cut in the zebra lines get red light, period. Until drivers learn to give pedestrians a safety zone, they pay the price in form of longer wait for their ignorance and arrogance. Oh, and please make the walk timer longer. If the city is troubled by ever growing number of cars which made these giant intersections necessary, pedestrians should be encouraged, not defeated.

    Is this why we don't have Beatles in China?

    — by Feng Xia


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