Unintended consequences

Dave Killion — November 13, 2011

This is a crosswalk in Reading, Pennsylvania that was put in place when a local intersection was redesigned for a Target store. The wheelchair ramp encroaches into a nearby slope, necessitating a retaining wall, and the public is protected from falls by a fence on top of the retaining wall. All in all it looks like a job well done, but one has to ask; why is there a crosswalk here? Once you cross, there is nothing to do but turn back and cross again. But this is what you find at the other end of the cross walk –

As Matt Johnson points out at Greater Greater Washington, this is likely the result of adherence to various municipal and federal regulations. I could go on to denounce the relevant bureaucracies for being rigid and uncomprimising, but not only would that be glib, it would be wrong. The bureaucrats in question were likely embarrassed by this turn of events, but they are dealing with laws, and that means they have no discretion in cases such as this. One shudders to think of the resources wasted in this useless construction, but waste is what happens when government reaches beyond its core responsibilities of enforcing prohibitions against force and fraud, and attempts to mandate outcomes that some interest group finds desirable.


Shirley says

Hilarious! And to think we have to consult with city hall on every little home reno project.

— November 13, 2011

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