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Carole Estabrook

An employee of Auburn Correctional Facility was crossing State Street at a crosswalk last Wednesday when she was struck by a car.

It didn't hit the papers, but another young woman, an acquaintance of mine, was also struck by a car last Wednesday. She was struck while crossing at the intersection of Genesee Street and Loop Road.

Is it just me, or do car accidents involving pedestrians seem to be on the rise?

Right before Christmas, Auburn City Manager Doug Selby was struck by a car while in a crosswalk at the intersection of South and Lincoln streets.

A little more than a year ago a truck struck two pedestrians who were crossing at the Howard Street intersection. And not even a month after that, another pedestrian was struck on North Street.

I don't know if it's the sidewalks, the crosswalks, or the signage but I suspect that the problem can be attributed to all of the above.

City sidewalks aren't consistently maintained, particularly in the winter months when long stretches of sidewalk aren't properly shoveled, if shoveled at all.

Poorly shoveled walkways force pedestrians to walk in the road alongside city traffic, which is extremely dangerous, especially for children who walk to school every day.

In some areas of town the crosswalks are badly faded and snow makes it difficult for motorists to see crosswalks from more than a few feet away. Pedestrian crossing signs might help slow or reduce vehicle traffic at crosswalks and intersections and increase crosswalk visibility for motorists.

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And then of course there is the issue of responsible walking and responsible driving.

On a daily basis I witness people "jaywalking" - wandering out in front of traffic nowhere near a crosswalk or walking against a traffic signal. Jaywalking is illegal and better enforcement would certainly help to improve pedestrian safety.

Auburn motorists also need to slow down and pay attention to the road. That means no texting while driving, another issue for another column.

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Also, motorists need to make sure that car windshields are adequately cleared of snow and ice.

These may sound like no brainers, but given the number of pedestrian-related car accidents that have occurred over the last two years, I think we could all use a quick refresher on pedestrian safety.

Estabrook's column appears

Mondays and she can be reached at estabrookcarole@yahoo.com

 

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