The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 15, 2013

Where the trail system crosses South Van Buren is cause for great concern

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — We’ve always been a fan of the city of Enid’s efforts to improve and expand the trail system.

It’s proven to be a popular feature in town and is a great addition to the quality of life in the community.

However, that does not mean we’re happy with everything, in particular where the trail crosses South Van Buren. That area is busy, some 16,300 vehicles pass through on an average day, according to the latest data available.

City officials understand the seriousness of the situation, with Mayor Bill Shewey saying “... it’s a very dangerous place to cross right now.”

A businessman in the area, Bob Perry, has witnessed three near-disasters at the crossing, and plenty of people on the News & Eagle’s Facebook page have commented about the situation as well.

There have been plenty of comments about how people on the trail need to watch out for traffic, and be careful before they cross. That’s true, but it’s also a crosswalk so traffic must yield to pedestrians. That’s the law, but we also know a pedestrian isn’t going to win if there is an accident.

The signage warning drivers of the trail crossing is not visible enough in that area, and drivers have a hard time realizing the trail is there.

That situation is compounded, too, when drivers exceed the speed limit in the area, which is 35 mph.

The big question now is what to do about the situation. Since the crossing is along a major highway, Oklahoma Department of Transportation would be involved in any solution.

What the answer is, remains to be seen. Will it be flashing lights warning drivers? Will it be a stoplight pedestrians can activate? Will it be a tunnel under the highway, or a walking bridge over it?

Another question is when will something be done? It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be solved soon, but we hope it would be a priority.

We’d hate to think it will take a serious accident to get things settled.