Safety is not the real issue

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

 On page 2 of the Monitor dated Jan. 13, is the following statement relating to the two houses on Trinity Drive the county has purchased: “Trinity is limited to what you can do,” Anne Laurent said. “We intend to take the houses down to improve safety.” This is a very outrageous statement with no basis since the houses in no way impact safety on Trinity. What impacts safety is cars traveling speeds in excess of the posted limit;  the county’s mismanagement of speed limits and traffic control devices; the county’s failed promises to construct islands the length of Trinity; sidewalks where pedestrians are forced to walk with their backs to the traffic with no protection from that traffic; and ineffective, but costly, snow and ice rearranging.

Speeds on Trinity are regularly in excess of the posted 35 mph limit. An analysis of those speeds would probably show a majority of the cars using Trinity are traveling an average of 45, not 35.  Enforcement of the posted limit seems nonexistent. The county has mismanaged the speed limits on Trinity for many years. 

One indication of this is there is no longer a 25 mph sign and a “blind intersection ahead” sign as one travels from east to west approaching the east entrance to Mari Mac. Turning into Mari Mac at that entrance invites a collision or being rear-ended. The county has also mismanaged speed limits at the west end of Trinity. 

In the past, as one rounded the curve from Diamond to Trinity, there was a 25 mph sign that did not change to 35 mph until after the 39th St. intersection. Not only is that speed limit no longer 25 mph, but pedestrians crossing to and from the hospital are made less safe by automobiles traveling at 35 mph or more around the curve.

Removal of the traffic signal at 39th and Trinity contributes to a lack of safety on the street, making it even more difficult for pedestrians to cross. Whatever reason was used to justify the removal, it was not based upon increasing safety.

When the county began constructing the islands on Trinity, the promise was that there would be pedestrian friendly islands the length of Trinity. That has never happened. The islands are not compliant with the ADA and in some sections only a ballet dancer can actually stand it. Pedestrian crossing of Trinity is nonexistent between Oppenheimer and Diamond.

Pedestrians walking on Trinity with their backs to the traffic are in constant peril of being hit by a car traveling over the speed limit. There are only a few sections of Trinity where there are parkways that provide a minimal amount of protection to pedestrians. The county’s inability to remove ice and snow also contributes to a lack of safety.

The demolition of the house at 38th and Diamond at the start of Diamond Drive Phase 2, rather than a careful dismantling with the idea of reusing or recycling as much of the building materials as possible, directly contradicted the county’s recycling policy. The destruction of the other homes rather than trying to find someone to move them from their current location also directly contradicts the policy. There is absolutely no justification for spending $139,000 to demolish these structures unless the county can show they cannot be reused or the construction materials cannot be recycled. Destroying housing that could be used for rent is not in the best interest of the community.

Safety on Trinity is not impacted by these houses but by the inability of the county to live up to its obligations.

Los Alamos