Opinion

Senior Foundation takes to the streets

In January, the Senior Foundation notified a city traffic planner of its interest in raising funds to underwrite the $45,000 cost for interactive crosswalk (IC) on 78th Avenue S.E. at 34th Street. When activated by a pedestrian, an IC flashes lights at the street level to alert drivers.

The Senior Foundation also volunteered to purchase reflective tape and sew stripes on both sides of all red crossing flags in use or reserve. While the City Council did not include an IC as part of their six year traffic package this year, they eventually gave a green light to the reflective tape this summer.

“Too many people at this intersection don’t wait for traffic to slow down — they just step off the curb without looking,” said Angela Decker. “They don’t realize that motorists’ visibility is limited by the curve of the road, evening shadows, and dark clothing of pedestrians. There is also a speed change in that block, which can catch drivers off-guard.”

Nearby condo resident Diane Kinman added, “We cringe every time we hear brakes screech, hoping yet another car hasn’t hit someone in the crosswalk.”

Kinman’s neighbor, Dorothy Springwater, died last December as a result of injuries sustained from being hit while she was using the crosswalk to go for a walk recommended by her physician. The popular crosswalk gives many residents access to the playground and paths at Mercerdale Park as well as to the Thrift Store.

“We were excited about the prospect of getting the entire community behind this much needed IC and very disappointed not to get approval from the City Council,” said Alanna Burdell. “But we are glad to help out if only in a small way. Sadly, reflective tape alone won’t guarantee pedestrian safety, but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s up to all of us to watch out for one another.”

Leslie Scott is a member of the Mercer Island Senior Foundation.

Community Events, April 2014

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