2016-01-07 / Opinion

Chaos is an Accident Waiting to Happen

To the Editor:

In my 16 years as a manufacturing engineer and plant manager, some of the important indices that we monitored were close calls and safety infractions. It is well known in the manufacturing world that both are predictors of accidents and injuries. If that same logic holds true for the existing conditions that prevail in the Broadway construction corridor, we should expect an unfortunate accident any time now. The conditions are shockingly and horribly bad. Close calls and safety infractions happen by the minute.

Yesterday (Tuesday, 1/5) I circled the Broadway area looking for parking just after 2:30. I was stopped behind a school bus picking up students from Thompson Middle School. The bus did not use the blinking red lights or its stop sign as the children loaded. The bus had to stand for quite a while and since there is apparently no plan for an organized pick-up, the driver must have decided not to shut down Broadway for 10 minutes. The bus couldn’t pull to the curb so it was double parked. When the students came rushing out the door, they ran between parked cars to the bus that was not signaling cars to stop. As the students were loading, a parent jaywalked with another student behind the bus and there was a close call as the cars passing the bus in the southbound lane quickly stopped. An unbelievable event in 2016!

As I drove to the corner of Gould and Broadway I saw the bus dropping off students from Pell School trying to make the turn onto Gould Street. Because there was a beer truck unloading, the bus had to mount the far sidewalk and narrowly squeeze down the street. I circled back around Equality Park to again find parking and there was chaos on Broadway. Delivery trucks have no place to park. There are no “No Parking” signs on any of the new bump-outs on the east side of Broadway so cars are parked along them. The crosswalks are not painted. The new crosswalk locations and the plan to have fewer crosswalks is not working and pedestrians are ignoring them. There was a car parked between what used to be the painted lines of a crosswalk, but only the lines at the curb were visible.

The chaos on Broadway is not a secret in this neighborhood; it is the conversation. As the saying goes…It is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. I see city council members, zoning officials, public services officials, police officers, the city manager, and engineers and managers from DOT and Cardi walking this area daily. When is someone going to step up and prevent the accident about to happen?

Jack McVicker
Newport

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