Like many people, I was saddened to read of Kathleen Hwang’s death Nov. 21 in a car/pedestrian accident [“Loudoun principal fatally hit by SUV,” Metro, Nov. 24]. It was tragic that she was wearing headphones, which I am sure did not help the situation. I wish, however, that The Post had investigated a little more thoroughly before repeating the trope that the victim was not in a crosswalk. This phrase appears in countless accident reports for the simple reason that crosswalks are profoundly lacking in suburban street design.
The Ashburn Patch Web site reported that the accident occurred on White Water Drive at Levee Way in Sterling. Google Maps’ satellite view of that intersection doesn’t show a crosswalk. In fact, there are only four crosswalks among the 11 intersections along White Water Drive, which is a mile in length, and Levee Way looks to be 500 to 600 yards away from either one. If a crosswalk is a prerequisite for a pedestrian to be in the road, as the mention of a crosswalk in an accident report seems to imply, then this street is terribly designed for a residential neighborhood.
Rather than reporting that an injured or killed pedestrian was “not in a crosswalk,” it would be more useful for you to report how far away the nearest crosswalk was. This might help highlight the problem of suburban streets being designed with little consideration for the people who would like to walk in their own neighborhood.
Bruce A. Johnson, Herndon
T. Rees Shapiro and Justin Jouvenal deserve a “well done” for their story on the tragic and untimely death of Kathleen Hwang. As difficult as these stories are for the community, ensuring that the reader knows where the victim was, what they were wearing, what they were doing and who was at fault are critical parts of the story. If we read enough times that the victim was not in a crosswalk, was wearing earbuds, etc., we will eventually come to realize that we as pedestrians have a duty to be visible and engaged in our safety. The focus of pedestrian safety needs to be on personal responsibility as well as roadway engineering and driver responsibility.
Bill Mooney, Olney