My point of view #13

MY POINT OF VIEW 13 (by Tatiana Sisquella)

peatonsMost psychologists recommend that we have a daily routine that varies only very slightly. They say that this makes us feel calm and secure, and give us a stable reference point. Having fixed meal times, going to the gym on a certain day of the week or organising the fridge in the same way every week can be small gestures that make everyday life simpler. In the same way, the route we take each day to work, to university or to school has the same importance. It is a good idea to establish certain norms for this journey, since it is after all made at least 5 days a week. En route you very often see the same man on the same corner out walking his dog, the woman who has filled up her shopping basket to feed the whole family and is now waiting at the number 14 bus-stop, or the group of school kids taking advantage of the last few minutes before they enter class to chat about everyone and everything. Every day, practically the same images – not identical, but very similar.

As regards the inanimate elements of this route, as you can imagine, they vary even less than the animate (evidently), so imagine my surprise when one day this week, as I was taking my daily route to work, I stopped at a pedestrian crossing when my traffic light was green. Yes I know that in Barcelona crossing the road when the light is red is the national sport, but that’s another question. What has really had me absorbed since one day this week (has anybody realized that I don't remember exactly what day it was that I saw what I'm about to relate?)…well as I was saying, one day this week I stopped just as I was about to cross the pedestrian crossing. Right in front of me, like some kind of posh graffiti, was something painted on the ground. There were some words, it looked like some kind of protest message and the first thing that came to my mind was that somebody who was against something had decided to paint it on our street. But then, after focusing my attention more closely on the message spelt out on the tarmac I read the following: “1 out of every 3 fatal traffic accident victims is a pedestrian”…What the….?! What a way to start the morning…

The statistic was terrifying, chilling and besides, I think relatively unknown to most of us pedestrians who walk, wander and run around the streets of this blessed city.

However, my intention is not just to remind you about the dangers of road traffic. I want to do something specific to protect you and your safety. And for that reason it seemed that translating the text, which logically was written in Catalan, would be a good way of preventing a car from coming along and carrying you away on its bonnet, just when you, the visitor curious and hungry for information, were trying to understand what the council had graffiteed on the streets.

The second part of the altruistic part is a complaint. Shouldn't we be able to find a better way of reminding ourselves about the dangers of cars other than writing some notice right in the place where we have to have all 5 senses on maximum alert so that we are not distracted?

I don't like those people who criticize all the decisions that are taken by public bodies. Besides, I am one of those who like to think that everything is done in good faith, but in the case of messages written on road surfaces, I am afraid I do not approve. They make the street look messy, they are distracting and have no real effect on people.

Nevertheless, there is something about this Barcelona paternalism that I find adorable…

Question: Why Barcelona?
Answer: BECAUSE we have one of the oldest traffic lights in Europe (on the corner of Buenos Aires and Urgell street)

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