That’s 13-year-old Liam Etheridge. His dad Mark Etheridge, an Admiral resident, sent the photo with this note:
After seeing how effective the crosswalk flags are at some of the crosswalks in West Seattle, my son Liam and I decided to try and make the very dangerous crosswalk at California Ave SW and SW College St in the Admiral District safer. This is a busy traffic area and also a heavily used pedestrian crossing.
We investigated the local website for pedestrian news, bought the safety flags ourselves, designed a mounting system and bought the hardware.
On Sunday, 12/28, we mounted the holders and installed the flags. Within an hour we watched people using the flags and showing obvious approval of the new addition.
On Monday, 12/29 two of the eight flags were already missing. My son and I had learned from the pedestrian website to expect some attrition of the flags so we weren’t too concerned. By Tuesday, 12/30, all of the flags were gone except for one that we found thrown in the Blockbuster parking lot across the street.
I have to say I expected far better of the West Seattle community. This was supposed to be, among other things, a lesson for my 13 year old son on the benefits of community service. Instead, it became a lesson on the less fortunate aspects of human nature.
Liam and I have resolved to try again with one more stocking of the crossing flags. I cannot afford to continue to buy flags just so a few idiots can steal them and spoil things for the rest of the community.
And what possible use would anyone have for seven small orange flags? Are they practicing semaphore signals at home?
We received Mark’s note this morning; before we could publish it tonight, he sent this followup:
In a strange update to the story, two of the eight flags have returned, and highly decorated. One has a pretty good sketch of a bus almost running a guy down, complete with the “55” on the bus (correct route) and the caption “Don’t be this guy.” The other has a really messy green painted peace sign. Now my son and I are intrigued with what may happen next.
Here’s a map of the intersection in question. The city supplies flags for several crossings in West Seattle (including Yancy/Avalon, California/Dakota, and California/Dawson), and this is now one of several more where flags have been privately supplied by citizens trying to do a good deed.