A while back I posted a picture of a truck that pulled way up into a crosswalk in downtown Salt Lake City. The truck came within inches of a pedestrian.
In the time since that post, Eric Harker has documented this unfortunately-common phenomenon with this picture that recently went up on Instagram:
As you can see, cars often pull up beyond the first painted line in a crosswalk, only stopping once they’re well inside the designated human space. This puts pedestrians at risk in specific instances, and I suspect that a culture of this behavior acts as a general deterrent to walking.
This also shows how drivers — which probably includes all of us at some point — typically respond to the way a street feels, rather than the way posted lines/signs/guidelines dictate. That’s often true with speed limits — we tend to drive as fast as a road’s width and surroundings suggest rather than the posted speed limit — but this is another, potentially dangerous example of how design, not rules, determines behavior.
That means that while more and better pedestrian-oritented signage and traffic enforcement would be welcomed in Salt Lake City, the real solution to this problem will need to involve a design element as well.