High traffic at Taylor-Merton
April 23, 2015
I would like to draw attention to a problem that I believe has been overlooked for too long.
The problem I refer to is the high level of traffic congestion at the Taylor-Merton intersection and crosswalk each school day, before and after school.
Some of you may recall that I once worked for the Fallon Police Department and could be seen regularly directing traffic at that busy intersection. I performed that duty faithfully and to the best of my ability for 13 years.
During the many years I served at that location, I developed, as few have, a keen appreciation for the dangers that lurk there, and I believe it's time we began calling upon our local public servants, school district as well as city, to initiate some meaningful changes to reduce that congestion, and thereby reduce some of the inherent perils associated with it.
In presenting my perspective on this matter, I want it clearly understood that it is not my intention to plant the idea in anyone's mind that the intersection is not essentially safe during those critical hours. It is, but conditions could be improved, and should be.
The primary problem at the Taylor-Merton intersection can be summarized in a few words: too many people — some in vehicles, some on foot — are attempting to crowd through a very limited space in a short period of time. These circumstances present some intrinsic risks for all, but especially for the young pedestrians.
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Yes, the city has posted someone there to direct traffic, but those well-trained and devoted officers, good as they are, are essentially no different than anyone else; they too are equipped with eyes on only one side of their head. Unfortunately there are many instances when something is happening on the other side of their head that they need to be aware of, something that may be crucial to maintaining order and safety. But it goes unnoticed. And that's where the flaw in our present system lies.
Mere humans are being expected to ensure that nothing bad will ever happen there. But that is asking more of a human than a human can give.
I believe strongly that if we continue handling things there as they are now being handled, we are inviting an accident. And if that accident should involve a pedestrian or pedestrians and was serious enough, it could result in a bitter tragedy for the entire community.
I'm certain all would agree that nothing can be gained by waiting until such an accident occurs to begin addressing this problem. A more prudent course of action would be to begin tackling the issue now. Any mishap or tragedy that can be foreseen is one that can be avoided.
Admittedly, there are no quick or easy solutions to a problem of this kind. The process of fixing it no doubt will be arduous, time-consuming and complicated. But most worthy endeavors appear daunting at first; that's why so many are never pursued.
It is my hope that the insights and perspectives I have shared here have provided you with a clearer and more complete understanding of this important issue. Changes to the current traffic control program are long overdue.
If you have a desire to help, please join the effort. You can begin by conveying your concerns and suggestions to the appropriate school district and city officials.