We must do more to get in step with pedestrian safety

You ever wonder if pedestrian safety projects are relegated to something akin to a paving schedule?
We do and rather than just wondering, there’s reason to believe pedestrian safety improvements are met with a get-in-line approach rather than a sense of urgency.
There’s no shortage of pressing issues concerning transportation in our community, be it commuter traffic, public transit or infrastructure.
Topping that list, of course, are dangerous road conditions, followed by a pecking order where pedestrian safety falls in between congestion and parking.
However, dangerous road conditions appear to be the only issue to have risen to the level of a crisis.
True, the response to our road conditions, so far, has yet to match the pressing need to repair them before winter.
But once again, we are reminded that pedestrian safety not only should be a priority, too, but our response to what is a clear and present danger to public safety in Morgantown is woefully inadequate.
Before the first week of WVU’s fall term was over two students were struck by cars and the drivers were cited.
Many of us get up close and uncomfortable with our road conditions and traffic scofflaws daily.
However, pedestrians, get up even closer to traffic and are at greater risk without the benefit of air bags, seat belts and side impact bars.
In a crisis, where there is an imminent or a recurring threat, time is always your enemy. You must act fast.
Yet, in what once looked to be a concerted effort to enhance pedestrian safety after a fatal pedestrian accident on Patteson Drive 18 months ago, now looks to have stalled.
Yes, there have been meetings, summits, studies and several improvement projects. But it’s clear pedestrian safety here remains dicey, at best, perilous, at worst.
Pedestrians should keep their heads on a swivel, though some are not always paying attention.
Still, it is contingent upon our community to account for every pedestrian’s safety in every circumstance.
A crosswalk signal that gives the go-ahead to pedestrians at the same time a traffic light is green, fails to do that.
Admittedly, many pedestrian safety plans are in the works, too, but most appear to put Band-Aids on problem areas while a long-term plan is still being developed.
That plan can’t happen too soon. In the meantime, we urge law enforcement from the city, county and WVU to step up its presence on busy roads and enforce traffic laws.
We concede that it’s imperative to know what the problem is and ensure everyone is willing to do something first.
But it’s more important that we do something, too.

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