Many of us have attended neighborhood or city council meetings in hopes that civic leaders might listen to our concerns and requests about public safety or crime. Sometimes these efforts are met with action, while other times they appear fruitless and we continue to be frustrated. And every once in a while, residents end up taking action themselves in the name of keeping themselves and others safe. That’s what one Pittsburgh resident did recently, with mixed reviews from neighbors and officials.

At issue was an intersection that many residents of the Polish Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh consider to be dangerous. In the past three years, city officials denied requests to install crosswalks on the streets of the intersection twice, saying that not enough pedestrians used the intersection to warrant the time and money it would take city workers to pain them. Residents of the neighborhood were concerned about car accidents harming walkers at the crossroads.

Apparently, one of them decided to stop waiting for the city to see the light. About a month ago a series of crosswalks were painted across the intersection’s roads, but not by road crews. The vigilante crosswalk painter hasn’t been publicly identified, but Polish Hill residents seem to be grateful. One posted a note on a bulletin board at a park in the neighborhood thanking the mystery painter for taking the action they’d hoped to see from the city.

But not everyone is pleased. Pittsburgh’s Public Works director said plans were already in the works to add the crosswalks after more residents complained about the intersection and that it’s a job best left to professionals. Furthermore, he said, if an accident were to occur at that spot, the vigilante painter could be held liable.

Whether the mysterious line painter was helping or hindering matters is up for debate. But given that car accidents involving pedestrians often result in serious injury or death, it’s not surprising that someone chose to take matters into his or her own hands. Fortunately, in the aftermath of an accident, you don’t have to become an instant professional. A personal injury attorney who understands your pain and frustration can take you through the complicated legal process of seeking compensation, ensuring that you don’t have to draw any lines yourself.

Source:, “Crosswalk vigilante beats Pittsburgh to the punch,” Sept. 26, 2012

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