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Event shows roads can be safer

Posted: November 6, 2013 - 4:35pm

The Halloween One-Way was a tremendous success. People parked and walked. Parents chatted in the streets. Drivers and pedestrians negotiated with each other slowly and respectfully, and often thanked the yellow-vested volunteers (vests graciously lent by Enstar and Homer Police Department). Cindy, Poppy, Liz V., Josiah, Ivan, Maynard, Miranda, Laura, Brianna, Kayla, Liz D., Heather, Ori, Martin, Gunnar, Susannah, Jackie, Melissa and Joe: You made it possible for trick-or-treaters and their families to enjoy a splendid evening without the stress and danger of too much traffic in dark, chaotic conditions.  Thank you for your leadership.

We also want to thank Chief Robl who supported this citizen-led initiative and the Homer Police Department for their efforts. I especially appreciate Officer Shealy who spent a good bit of the night on foot, interacting with trick-or-treaters and directing traffic. 

he biggest thanks of all goes to the neighborhood residents of Mountainview and Bayview, who have kept this trick-or-treat tradition for more than 35 years, and who were willing to try something new to make the night safer and more enjoyable for all: motorist and pedestrian, visitor and resident. 

I came to this project out of a desire to make walking and biking in Homer safer and more enjoyable for children and families. There is much work we can do. Most of our local roads do not have sidewalks. This would be no problem if vehicles were consistently slow and safe, and if drivers expected to share residential roads with cyclists and pedestrians. 

The Halloween One-Way demonstrated just such a situation. We can improve the way we drive — less texting and talking on cellphones, less speeding. We can consistently stop at crosswalks. We can share the road with cyclists. On collector and arterial roads, we can introduce better crosswalks and signage, sidewalks or even just good street shoulders. We can advocate for the connections that would turn our patchwork trails into a unified trail system. We can voice support for city, borough and state projects that address transportation issues. I envision a Homer where families take a Sunday stroll through town, walk to school, bike to a trailhead, or window shop down Pioneer. And in a small town with great neighbors, it can happen. Thank you.

Adele Person Groning

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