Every time a pedestrian runs across the street in face of oncoming traffic, conditions worsen for the rest of us. You empower the driver, you make them believe they have the right-of-way and need not decelerate in the presence of a pedestrian. Walk don't run. Make the unhappy driver slow for you. This is the only way to reclaim the street.
I saw this again yesterday, at a cross-walk (the troublesome, and poorly designed, cross-walk unmarked, reconfigured East-River Road and Fulton St SE. Nice job traffic engineers, no marked crosswalk adjacent to campus, was the paint just too expensive, or is this the new policy?). The pedestrian, who looked to be in his early 60s, felt the need to run to avoid oncoming traffic that just got set loose at the East River Road/Harvard Intersection stop-sign at about 5 pm. Drivers (University employees most of them) seem to feel that once they clear Harvard, they have reached the Freeway. They have not. Someone should remind them of this. A few of those dorky stop for pedestrians in crosswalk signs, perhaps some stop for pedestrians in unmarked crosswalk signs would be nice as well.
The laws vary by state, but even crossing not at a crosswalk is generally legal so long as you are not creating a hazard.