Generally speaking, traffic is always busy in Santo Domingo. It is a city of approximately three million people, so of course there are a lot of vehicles and a lot of people who need to get from place to place at every time of day!
There is no respect for transportation laws and pedestrians certainly do not have the right of way in any circumstance. The funniest thing is that people here are laid back and walk slowly and calmly, but yet, people behind the wheel are the exact opposite! It is like they are racing to get out of town before the apocalypse or something!
My first day in Santo Domingo, I travelled mostly by foot. It is funny that I don’t use these feet of mine more often at home, but when I’m in a new city there is nothing that I like more than to walk through the streets to get an understanding of where everything is without having to worry about moving fast, which way to turn when other cars are waiting and being able to easily backtrack if I feel I have gone the wrong way. But, really, is there a wrong way when you are exploring a new city? I mostly like to just go for a stroll, look at my surroundings and enjoy the exercise.
I did find, however that trying to cross the main streets, such as the Malecon, is much like playing frogger. You might step out and then step back a couple of times! And, you may have to go left and right around cars. And, yes, you may have to sprint across the street because drivers have no intentions of slowing down for you to get safely across! Having said this, occasionally a driver will stop to let me cross (likely so they can have a good long stare at the white girl and call out a few compliments or comments from their car window while you cross the street!)
On the really busy streets, sometimes, if you are lucky, you can find a police officer standing at a corner. If you ask, they will use their whistle and step out in traffic for you to then give you the right of way to cross the street. So far, I’ve only done this once. Most of the time if you wait a few minutes you can find a break in traffic to dodge across the street on your own. The funniest part though is that I have never seen a Dominican rush to get out of the way of the on coming traffic. Only us white folks sprint for the other side!