When I worked at Samsung as a contractor, there was no stoplight at the entrance. Turning left into or off of the campus from Parmer Lane, a 4-lane, 55-mph stretch of road was a hair-raising daily experience for most of us. Some took the long way home just to be able to turn right when the left, as they had when they entered, but otherwise, either coming or going, you had a left turn.
One of my coworkers was very frustrated by this and asked, “How many people have to be killed before we get a light.” “Three,” I answered. She was appalled, but I was serious. It had been the history in our community that one traffic fatality is considered an anomaly and it isn’t until there are more than one that something gets done about it.
This was brought back to my mind by the fatal accident on Goodwin Drive yesterday. In that case it is a neighborhood street that is being used as a shortcut. People are speeding by 10-20 mph over the speed limit and accidents are common. This time someone died. If the neighborhood’s pleas for speed bumps had been heeded, perhaps that would not have happened.
A couple of years ago an elderly gentleman was crossing the street at night using a walker. He properly crossed with the walk signal, but according to the newspaper report, it was a very short light and he was just over halfway across the street when the light turned green. A car coming up the street saw the light change to green, but did not see the gentleman crossing the street, and the pedestrian was killed.
A woman was walking her child to school, while pushing a stroller, down the street of a four-lane divided road. There were no sidewalks and the grass was too high to accommodate the stroller. Major intersection, not in the boonies. Fortunately the car that hit them didn’t kill anyone and missed the stroller completely. Also, in this case, the furor caused sidewalks to be put in immediately.
But, as I said, the changes didn’t come because someone asked. The changes came because someone got hurt or killed.
Why can’t we be more proactive?