A friend from D.C. was down here last weekend for a wedding and we managed to squeeze in a lunch with her, her husband, my boyfriend and myself before they were whisked away into the wedding dimension, where everything is flowers and hairspray and standing around waiting for something interesting to happen. My friend is a fellow Texan but she married a man from around Seattle, so naturally we were entertaining him over lunch with tales about the famous disregard Texans demonstrate for the niceties of personal safety, tales with punch lines like, "Here, hold my beer while I shoot the fire."
Just to make his life a little harder, my friend laughed and turned to her husband and asked him to tell us about the crosswalks in the suburban Washington neighborhood his parents now live in. Apparently, each crosswalk has a stack of orange flags on each corner. The legal protocol for crossing the street is to hit the Walk button, wait for the signal to turn, grab two flags and wave them in front of you as you cross the street, for maximum visibility. How dramatically you wave them is completely up to you, as is the choice to throw in a little soft shoe as you make your way across the street.
The conclusions you draw from this story are completely up to you. The conclusion I drew was that we should have orange flags at the crosswalks here in Austin, but only at the big crosswalk where the mall at UT intersects with the middle of the Drag, where in the middle of the day when things are busiest on campus each Walk signal dumps hundreds of students into the crosswalk. It would just make things a little rosier if each of those hundreds of students was required to wave orange flags as they crossed. Sort of like a mini-parade every 2 minutes or so. They could make the flags burnt orange, if they like, to keep it in the school spirit.