City correct to seek ways to calm traffic
City officials are calling it “traffic calming.”
We’d like to call it “hazardous driver calming.”
Whatever it’s called, though, Council’s economic revitalization committee is absolutely correct that a comprehensive strategy to better protect bicyclists and pedestrians is in order.
The committee specifically mentioned West Fourth and Hepburn Street as having a “blind spot.”
The Sun-Gazette sits at that intersection, as does City Hall, and we have seen a lot of traffic determined to get through that intersection over the years.
Motorists on West Fourth turning north onto Hepburn may not see pedestrians crossing the street at the end of a very short block. What can be more dangerous, though, are the motorists racing south on Hepburn who don’t slow down until right before the red light. It’s a wonder no one has been killed.
Oh, but wait, yes, somebody has been killed — a short block from Hepburn at West Fourth and William streets.
On the afternoon of Oct. 19, 2019, 66-year-old John Yarosz was struck and killed by an SUV while he was riding his motorized wheelchair at West Fourth and William streets downtown.
News of how he died was hard to digest; it’s difficult to remember it now, let alone repeat it.
But we must recall how the life of Mr. Yarosz ended, as well as the lives of others, young and old, who were struck and killed while crossing a street, riding their bikes or otherwise using the streets without a motor vehicle, not just in Williamsport, but anywhere that motor vehicles travel.
We must remember the power we wield when we get behind the wheel and simply slow down.
Beyond that, the suggested combination of crosswalk improvements, speeding enforcement and bike paths is a decent place to start, but who knows what else may come around the corner.
More roundabouts? More one-way streets? Speed bumps, anyone?
Before we go that far, instead, let’s agree to slow down.