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Highway through Arlee hinders pedestrians

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Editor,

My children and I have been enjoying our summer here in Arlee, walking and biking around the town where we live almost every day. Yet our daily outings have been marred greatly by one large obstacle: The highway through town. 

Since this highway was built, ostensibly for the safety and comfort of travelers, it has encouraged significant traffic acceleration both through town and on the southbound side, which my property abuts; both couplets are posted at 35 mph. Yes, the sidewalks look nice (and are delightful for biking) and the lighted areas are both attractive and safer, but somehow these improvements have created a runway feel, where drivers feel they must speed up before takeoff.

Worse, however, is the fact that travelers often do not stop when pedestrians are in the crosswalk. Numerous times this summer my children and I have waited at one of the four crosswalks, which are all marked by fluorescent signage on both sides of the roadway, while drivers zoomed by and looked at us like we were animals at the zoo. 

I understand. It’s hard to stop at a crosswalk when driving 50 mph. The most terrifying are the times when a considerate driver stops in one lane (usually the lane closer to us) but vehicles in the other lane continue past. My children cannot ever cross a road like this by themselves.

Even more rare than the speed limit and crosswalk-abiding driver, however, is the police patrol in Arlee. There is almost never a county policeman around, and it’s no secret that people aren’t pulled over here. If only one day a week a police car came to Arlee and issued 57 tickets for failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk or speeding (they could get them on both sides of the couplet) or the county planted one of those “Your Speed Is” radar signs or put up a single stoplight activated by a pedestrian or even donated a fake policeman like Lakeside has, the message might get across: Arlee is a community, with real people, and safety and comfort are just as important to us as they are to travelers.

Thus, I put the question to the fine candidates running for sheriff in Lake County: What are going to do for us, the Arlee community, to help solve this problem?

Anna E. Baldwin
Teacher, Arlee High School

 

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