Thursday, March 2, 2017

How to Protect People that Cross State Street

By Spring, a guest blogger

Looking north at crosswalk light at 3600 S State Street in SSL.

Step 1: Recognize the Problem

On September 23, 2016, I almost got hit again crossing State Street at the new crossing light at 3600 South State Street. 

Has this ever happened to youWhat did you do about it?

I took action. I called the South Salt Lake Police station. The officer who answered the phone told me that the police couldn't do anything about drivers running through the crossing light. I was mad because they weren't willing to protect me, one of their citizens. I was hurt because I didn't think that they thought my life was important to them.

The next day, on my way to an appointment with my two-year-old son and my husband, we were almost hit at the same crossing light at 3600 South. We pushed the button and waited for the lights to blink. The crosswalk has really good signs and great flashing lights. Cars are supposed to stop and wait for us to cross in front of them before they start up again. We got halfway and then got stuck in the middle of the road because cars in the other direction did not stop.

Some drivers don't pay attention to people that use crosswalks. Unfortunately, I have to use crosswalks every day to go to school and go home.

Step 2: Share the problem 

I explained my situation to Deb and asked, “How can I fix this situation?”

She told me to write a letter to the editor of the newspapers – Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune. My reason for writing this letter was to tell drivers to watch out for us pedestrians using the crosswalks. I just wanted drivers to help keep all of us who walk to places, even people with small kids or kids that have to use crosswalks to go to school, safe. 

I also sent a copy of my letter to the South Salt Lake Police Chief, South Salt Lake Mayor, and three of South Salt Lake's Council people.

Step 3: Work out a solution with the people who have the authority to help

Although my "Letter to the Editor" was never published in either newspaper, my voice was heard. Last November, I was invited to South Salt Lake's City Council meeting. The room was full. The police chief said he would send some of his officers to check out the situation. I think the meeting turned out great because they listened to me.

The next night on my way home, as I was about to cross, a guy ran the flashing crosswalk light. This time a motorcycle cop was watching the guy. Guess what? The police officer pulled him over and talked to him. The guy told the officer off – he said, “I don't need to stop for pedestrians.” So, the officer gave him two tickets.

Since then, many more people have been pulled over and given tickets. One day, a bus was even pulled over.

I think sending my letter to the mayor has been a big success! 

Two pieces of advice:

If you have a problem, please tell your town mayor, the police chief, and your city council people. The only way they will know how to help you is if you tell them.

By the way, I've noticed that often people who speed through the crosswalk are either talking or texting on their cell phones. So...
Please don't talk or text when you drive. 

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