It’s easy to start thinking that pedestrians are not only few and far between here, but also actively disliked by the authorities. That can be the only explanation for the aggressively anti-pedestrian traffic laws. Firstly, we have the cynical “turn right on red” law. This means that if you are at a red light and intend to turn right, you can. Oh yes, you’re supposed to wait until the road is clear first but this is regarded as an optional rule by most motorists.
Secondly even if the pedestrian “walk” light is on, cars may still turn left or right across the crossing. In other words there is no safe phase for pedestrians. And why should there be ? Not using a car is, after all, anti-American; pedestrianism is just another form of terrorism.
Enough of the niggles though, in fairness there are quite a few life enhancing improvements that deserve a mention. The fact that people are generally more friendly, more helpful and less shocked when strangers talk to them is a nice thing. The abundance of good quality sea-food everywhere you go is also a pleasant change.
Oh yes, SEPTA, the public transport services, could teach TFL a thing or two. From the end of our road there is a regular, cheap, air-conditioned, fast, bus service into center city that takes about 20 minutes, even in traffic. Even though we’ve got a car it’s still easier to get the bus.
Michele has, of course, managed to get a lot of avian activities into her short time here. Yesterday there was Parrot Palooza, which I decided to swerve, having a far shorter parrot threshold than Michele. The other evening we decided to eat out in Manayunk (a bit like the Islington of Philadelphia) and it took five minutes from leaving the car to Michele having a cockatiel on her head. Walking along main street, her finely attuned bird-sensitive hearing picked out a parrot and so she dragged me into a junk shop where, sure enough, was a beautiful pearl cockatiel in a cage. The sound of Michele’s cooing brough out a long girl from the back who explained that she’d adopted it two days before and enthusiastically closed the shop door so we could take the bird out of the cage. Only Michele could find this place.
Right, we’re off out for a cycle through some nearby woods.