Riverside’s Festival of Lights is an annual event that draws tens of thousands of people downtown to see it. In addition to the lights, there are other attractions including shops, Santa, and an ice skating rink. It’s so popular that it was voted the best public light display this year by readers of USA Today.
While the lights were pretty, the way the influx of people was handled was not. This year, Mission Inn Ave. that borders the Mission Inn was closed and Main St. has been pedestrianized for years. Thus, there was no problem at the intersection of Main and Mission Inn, which is normally a signalized crosswalk. However, University Ave. remained open as the vehicular access through the area. It also has a signalized crosswalk and it was strained to the max.
This video showed up of the City’s comical, yet sad response to the situation. Instead of adjusting the timing to give pedestrians adequate time to cross (or even just closing it completely), police are out enforcing “crosswalk safety” by way of publicly shaming those seeking to cross the street. I guess we should be glad that they didn’t stoop all the way to the level of the LAPD and start ticketing people entering the crossing once the hand and countdown started. Still, it is a telling sign of the culture of the City, which is one of the anchors of the region with the worst pedestrian safety record in the state. Stuff like this shows why that is.