local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 public meetings

 previous edition

 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info
 classifieds info
 internet info
 sun valley central
 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs
Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Our View

Stop bowling for pedestrians

In the Wood River Valley, drivers are the bowling balls; pedestrians and cyclists are the pins.

The proof?

A woman died recently after a truck struck her as she was traversing a crosswalk at a controlled intersection on Hailey’s Main Street.

Shortly thereafter, a vehicle struck a child on a bicycle at the same intersection. Luckily, the child survived with a few bumps and bruises.

In Ketchum last week, a car at the intersection of Fifth Street and First Avenue struck a child on a bicycle who was riding in the wrong lane of traffic. This child also survived.

The circumstances surrounding all three incidents were different, but in one sense, they were all the same. The streets the pedestrian and cyclists were crossing were all designed with one major goal in mind: to move as many cars and trucks through as fast as possible at the lowest possible cost. Pedestrians were not top priority.

The consequences of such limited thinking are demonstrably deadly. In communities whose livings are rooted in the recreation industry, it’s inexcusable.

Technically, our towns’ Main Streets are state highways. To cross them, pedestrians must navigate five lanes in Bellevue and Hailey, and four in Ketchum. They must cross at the same time traffic may be turning right or left—which poses a danger from even the most diligent drivers. Crossing lights, which blink warning about four seconds into the crosswalk, scare the wits out of the slow or the disabled and anger drivers who misinterpret the sign of the blinking hand as indication that the pedestrian should be out of the way.

Traffic engineers working on a new highway plan for the valley have acknowledged the danger of the highway’s vast expanse to pedestrians. One alternative may be to provide "safety islands" halfway across to help protect pedestrians. But there’s a hitch: They’re expensive to build and maintain.

Ketchum has an additional problem. It has three major streets that join Main Street at signal-controlled intersections. Yet, it has refused to improve a major portion of one, Fifth Street, which includes the intersection where the child was hit.

The intersection is a tangle of bad asphalt, missing sidewalks, two hills, disorganized parking and poor lines of sight. The writing’s on the wall.

The cities should undertake major pedestrian safety initiatives and urge the state of Idaho to do the same. They should not leave the valley’s pedestrians and cyclists as unprotected as the bowling pins on a slippery lane.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.