The construction of the roads and sidewalks in Cuzco is one of the biggest differences I have noticed from home. There is very little space, and thus no margin for error. Most of the streets we’ve walked down are barely wide enough for one car, and I haven’t seen any one-way signs anywhere. I can’t believe I haven’t seen two cars driving right at each other yet. The sidewalks are so narrow that only one person can fit at a time. Every time I am walking and a car passes me, there is, at the most, three feet of space. When the cars drive fast, it makes me a little nervous. Even worse is when someone is walking towards me on the sidewalk when a car is coming. There’s not even enough space to pass each other, so we actually have to wait until the car passes. I can imagine that this happens a lot, which significantly slows foot traffic.
Crossing the street is not nearly as easy as in the US. Only the biggest intersections have white lines painted as crosswalks, and I can count on one hand the number of traffic lights I have seen in the city. Most intersections don’t even have stop signs! Again, I can’t believe I haven’t seen a crash yet. Crossing the street is awful. We walk through a busy 4-way intersection on the way to class, and there is no light or stop sign, only white crosswalk lines. Unlike at home, where drivers will stop to let pedestrians cross, here I have to wait until there is a big enough space between cars to make it across the street. Cars don’t even slow for pedestrians; they expect us to get out of the way! I’m surprised no one has been hit yet.