The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 22, 2013

City of Enid orders lights for trail system crossing at South Van Buren/U.S. 81

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — City of Enid officials need to be commended for ordering flashing lights to be placed where the trail system crosses South Van Buren.

The issue was brought up by a local businessman who told the News & Eagle he witnessed three near-disasters at the location, where the trail system crosses the busy street, which also is U.S. 81. According to a recent traffic study, some 16,300 vehicles pass the location each day.

As more and more people use the trail, safety has to be a major concern.

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

Another problem is drivers tend to exceed the speed limit, which is 35 mph in the area.

Ultimately, the issue of safety comes down to drivers and people using the trails.

Walkers and bikers need to be aware of the traffic, but drivers also need to be aware that people in crosswalks have the right of way, even on a major street.

However, the city can — and with the order for flashing lights is doing — do something about safety, too.

The flashing lights will be a good warning to everyone to pay more attention.

Whether it’s the final solution remains to be seen.

Because Van Buren also is U.S. 81, Oklahoma Department of Transportation will have a say in what — if any — traffic controls might be installed.

In addition to the flashing lights, an engineering firm will conduct a traffic study that will count vehicle traffic and the number of people crossing Van Buren each day.

The study could be done within three weeks and is intended to provide justification to the state if the city wants to install a traffic control signal there.

We’re glad to see something being done. As we said, safety needs to be the top priority.