Asked about the animosity drivers and walkers have for each other, Bobby Brown, the traffic enforcement officer, declared, "It's even. Everybody seems to be in a hurry to get to their destination."

As his shift began at 3 p.m., cars filled six lanes as they barreled down St. Paul Street toward the entrance to Interstate 95. "Once they hit St. Paul," he said, pointing north, "and they get that long straight-way, they're rolling at 60 mph by the time they get here."

The officer highlighted some common problems: drivers who go straight in turn-only lanes — he's been sideswiped twice in his 30-year career, hit by the side mirrors of cars speeding by — and those who fail to yield to pedestrians while rounding a corner.

Pedestrians, Brown said, are often distracted —by phones, for example — and feel entitled to cross streets where they please.

Sometimes, the bad habits combine. Brown watched a young woman cross Pratt Street. Though she had the walk sign, she crossed well away from the crosswalk, and a motorist turning left onto Pratt had to abruptly stop.

Just then, a man wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase stepped off the curb. Brown yelled, "Sir, Sir, green light," as he pointed to the traffic signal. The man immediately backed up. "Sorry, didn't see," he responded.

Baltimore Sun reporter Candus Thomson contributed to this article.

Fatal pedestrian accidents

Baltimore City

2001 — 20

2007 — 17

2008 — 11

2009 — 16

2010 — 10

2011 — 9

Baltimore County