Close readers of the Chieftain may have noticed that Kathleen Ellyn’s byline has been missing from the last few editions. Some many know that Kathleen was hurt while walking down First Street in downtown Enterprise, when a car pulled out of the Chevron station and ran her over. She survived and, miraculously, was spared serious injury. She may be back to work soon.
Kathleen may have been the victim of a crime — we will report if charges are indeed filed against the driver of the car. But some pedestrian accidents in Enterprise are simply accidents, and the city should think about how to reduce them.
Enterprise is a dangerous place for a pedestrian, especially in winter when roads and sidewalks are slick and snow, visibility is often low and mounds of snow line streets. Crosswalks disappear under layers of packed snow. Trying to quickly cross over the slick roads is dangerous for those on foot and those behind the wheel.
But there are other year-round concerns.
There is a major highway running through town, and its l-shaped turn means downtown pedestrians may have to cross it more than once in the process of finishing their errands. That same highway runs through Joseph, but it funnels down in size and the busy corners and cars parking and leaving help force drivers to slow down.
It’s often not so in Enterprise. And the kind of shoppers and explorers that the city is trying to convince to stop and wander on their way to the lake can be inconvenienced by the trucks and other vehicles traveling through town.
Major fixes would be prohibitively expensive but little fixes could make the city safer, more attractive, and help local business.
Perhaps a lighted crosswalk could be built across Highway 82, connecting East and West Main. Flags for crossing the street near there, already in place, are a good step.
Perhaps city planners could look for ways to further reduce speeds in the downtown core and funnel drivers through town farther away from Main Street.
Perhaps more signage would be useful. Stronger enforcement of the speed limit, and for vehicles not stopping for people in the sidewalk, could make a difference too.
Making pedestrians as safe as possible is something the city should strive toward. And it could have other benefits, too: It will help keep visitors and locals downtown for more than just a fillup, and it can help those same people feel free to traverse all that Enterprise has to offer.