I’ve noticed some disturbing traffic trends at Florida Road and County Road 250 near Bread. The right-hand turn lanes bisect the pedestrian crosswalks. Drivers just blow through and ignore yield signs, probably because the signs are nearly impossible to see. My older dog and I have had two near-death experiences there. Is law enforcement aware of the dangers in this intersection? Why not limit growth in this area until traffic infrastructure improves? – Christa Turnell
You can see why they call them crosswalks. Everyone’s cross at each other.
Pedestrians are mad about the maddening number of inattentive motorists and just plain bad drivers.
Action Line feels your pain. Or almost felt it.
Last week, evasive maneuvers were required. Some guy in a truck accelerated through an intersection.
Action Line was in the crosshairs in the crosswalk.
The driver was – wait for it – on the phone!
Could we just please hang up and drive?
On the other hand, Durango’s woke walkers have an annoying propensity to aggressively strike out into traffic.
The key word here is strike.
Because that’s what happens when you ignore Mrs. Action Line’s strict imperative to stop and look both ways before crossing the street.
In any case, the Florida Road-County Road 250 crossroad is a heck of a lot better than it was 10 years ago.
Back in the day, it was just an unsignaled “T” intersection.
Florida Road traffic was a constant and unmergeable stream of commuters.
The area lacked curbs and gutters. And shoulders? Heck, you’d see wider shoulders on an anorexic runway model.
So the city spent $1.5 million to fix the deficiencies.
That was in 2009.
Thus, the city very much improved infrastructure in anticipation of growth.
Things are a lot better. Traffic lights created traffic breaks and slowed down commuters.
However, for pedestrians, the improvements are a hit, so to speak.
The intersection now features raised medians to protect people crossing the street.
They’re officially called “pedestrian refugee areas” and they’ve reduced pedestrian crashes by 46% nationwide, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
Raised medians have other benefits beyond protecting the multi-model masses.
Installing “pedestrian refugee areas” resulted in a 15% reduction in motor vehicle accidents, a 30% decrease in traffic delays and a corresponding 30% increase in road capacity, the FHWA reported.
Moreover, “pedestrian refugee areas” are less expensive to construct than paved medians and they create space for lights to be installed, further improving safety.
There’s only one thing wrong.
It’s the name “pedestrian refugee area.”
Anyone sauntering safely across the street is a “refugee”? Really?
This is not a good time to be a refugee in the United States.
But Durango could change that, at least on a local level.
We could become a pedestrian sanctuary city and establish a progressive new agency, called Intersection Courtesy Enablers, or ICE.
If anyone ever feels unaccommodated in a “pedestrian refugee area,” simply document malevolent motorists migrating through the intersection.
Then call ICE.
ICE would then deport documented migrants to Mackinac Island, Michigan, where vehicles have been prohibited since 1898.
We wouldn’t be sending our best.
But let’s be fair. There are good people on both sides – of the street.
And we’d make Durango intersections great again.
Email questions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if you wonder how the chicken could cross the road without a pedestrian refugee area.