John Howell editorial 8/15/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 15, 2014

Pedestrians need consideration in traffic engineering

Perhaps a minor detail that otherwise might get overlooked as the Mississippi Department of Transportation plans to make Highway 6 from Power Drive West safer for vehicles is provision for pedestrians who attempt to cross at the 6/51 intersection. 

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There are some. I’ve watched them. There is no easy way to get across that intersection on foot in any direction. 

Some pedestrians avoid the intersection altogether, choosing instead to cross either route — Highway 6 or Highway 51 — at a distance from the intersection, darting through lanes of fast-moving traffic.

When the new McDonald’s restaurant building is completed, it will get worse. Many of the pedestrians I have seen are McDonald’s employees on their way to work. With a larger restaurant built on that busy corner, there will be more employees and more people attempting to cross the intersection on foot to get there or elsewhere. 

It’s not easy to get through 6-51 in a vehicle, much less on foot. A driver who is navigating the intersection in traffic has even less attention to spare for some hapless pedestrian who might be trying to dodge and dart his way through.

Pedestrians are a consideration MDOT should take into account as it plans revisions on Highway 6 to make it safer. Numbers will not likely justify such consideration, but the major injuries likely sustained in  a mismatched car/walker collision would.

A minor detail. Unless, of course, you are a pedestrian.