PUBLIC SAFETY

As I jogged down 48th Street past the memorial for Officer Scott Saffell, I stopped to straighten the toppled flowers and to say a quick prayer for his family, because I know what it is like to lose someone in the prime of their life. Then I thought, I can do more than this. I ran across the street to the fatal corner of 48th Street and Western Star Boulevard and used my runner's watch to do an informal experiment.

I have always felt that the corner was exceptionally dangerous. The recent death of Saffell horribly proved that. The problem is that to turn left out of Western Star heading south on 48th you can only see cars for approximately 100 yards because of the bend in the road, so you have to rush across the intersection. I stood on the corner with my stopwatch and timed how long it took for cars heading north down 48th to reach the intersection from the blind corner. The average time was 6 seconds on a leisurely Saturday, not rush hour-like, when Saffell was killed. I then timed how long it took for cars to pull out from Western Star safely onto 48th. It averaged 4.5 seconds. With a half second for the decision-making process that leaves only about one second for error. What if your child screams in the back seat, or your phone rings just as you're making your decision? What if someone is speeding and then could cover those 100 yards in 4 seconds. Tragedy can result for you, your child, or somebody's wife or husband or mother or father. Even though Saffell was coming from the north, the decision to head across the intersection was probably rushed, leading to the tragedy.

So that Saffell's death won't be in vain, I propose that we do something to fix that problem. A simple speed bump at the blind spot for cars heading north down 48th Street would give people leaving Western Star a longer chance to make a good decision to head onto 48th. Right now, if you turn your head to double check towards the right, then another car is coming from the left. It's dangerous for everyone. Let's fix the problem before anyone else loses their life and loved ones are lost.

Terri Schneider

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