Another voice: The real issue is a closed crosswalk not kids

June 29, 2011

In the editorial "Safe Summer," June 18, Hood River News was very stereotypical and misleading with regards to the crosswalk at 12th and May.

"…For kids in particular, the excitement of summer is a proven distraction as they make their way around. However, the fact is, kids don't always follow the rules in getting from point A to point B."

The fact is, many people, including adults, do not follow the rules when the rules are ridiculous and make little sense.

First of all, not just kids but also adults are crossing at that now "closed crosswalk." The real issue is not with who is crossing at this intersection, but the poor planning and closing of a perfectly good and needed crosswalk.

By closing this crosswalk, the city has inconvenienced all citizens due to a rerouted crosswalk created at the community's cost in tax dollars, produced an eyesore and, most importantly, compromised safety.

The problem seemed to begin when the crosswalk was closed for construction purposes by the Hood River Hospital as they constructed their parking lot in the fall of 2010. It continued when the city decided to permanently change the walking route of all pedestrians from the May Street School neighborhood to the west-side area, thus closing an important crosswalk and creating a maze for walkers.

Many families, children as well as adults, continued crossing at the closed crosswalk for easier access to the west side of town and the hospital.

The two 3-foot signs cemented into the ground at 12th and May while yelling out "CLOSED CROSSWALK" create a huge eyesore for the community and are redundant.

The unneeded signs serve no purpose other than as an eyesore for the community. They act as metal barriers to keep people from crossing the street that they have crossed for generations. No wonder our library remains closed and schools are also closing. This is a perfect example of poor planning and wasteful spending.

The safety issues created by closing the crosswalk severely outweigh the prospect of leaving the previous status quo. There is currently already a crosswalk a block down from 12th and May so traffic has already been slowed.

By keeping the extra crosswalk it would only add to the safety for both walkers and bikers. Instead, they have changed it so that pedestrians have to cross the street three times instead of once.

It is hard to believe that city planners expect citizens to cross the street three times just to make it to the next unsafe intersection of 13th and May (which is also a mess; but we won't unleash that issue here). Most people won't try and tackle such a maze.

So, pedestrians are risking their lives three times before they even get to 13th Street. It is also extremely scary for bikers (both kids and adults) who will continue crossing at 12th and May.

People need to feel safe, and they need to trust in their community planners to make good decisions. Closing the crosswalk at 12th and May was a bad decision which risks the lives of citizens.

According to the front page June 18 Hood River News article, "Planners seek input on TSP," the city is taking input (until July 5) on the future transportation plan for our city. They obviously need help and input.

We must also protest the ugly signs, reestablish the crosswalk and, most importantly, restore safety to the intersection at 12th and May. It will return safety for all pedestrians and bikers (both kids and adults) who cross the street.

Morgan Graves, 12, of Hood River, wrote this letter, and had it signed by 16 other concerned citizens.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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