ENID, Okla. —
The major issue I had with (the Oct. 26, 2013, “Plea of Guilty” article), about the death of Ms. Ward nine months ago near the new Enid trail system, is the fact that the hazard of crossing Van Buren still remains. There really needs to be a traffic light at (the trail crossing) in order to prevent future pedestrian deaths.
I am not from Oklahoma, but Enid was my first choice in assignments when returning from a recent overseas tour. There are many great things about this community and raising a family in the middle of America is a blessing. The stereotypical Oklahoman’s understanding of crosswalks, however, lags greatly behind the rest of the country. I teach young student pilots how to fly high performance aircraft. I feel as much stress driving home with a pedestrian waiting to cross Van Buren at the trail crosswalk as I do in teaching a young aviator to land a T-38 for the first time.
If you really want to tie a community together like this trail system has the potential to contribute toward, it must be safe to cross the street. Otherwise, it will be difficult to move beyond the east/west division of this town’s past.
Finally, on the topic of traffic safety, there is simply no reason 30 mph is the posted speed limit for narrow residential streets with limited parking and no sidewalks. That’s the second stressful part of my day, getting my family to the trail to enjoy the segments that don’t cross a four-lane highway.
Fifteen mph would be fine by me — that is the USAF speed limit in base housing. Another benefit to the additional safety of a slower speed would be the opportunity to wave to your neighbors, as well. The people here in Enid are the major reason why Air Force veterans choose to retire in Oklahoma after all.
Editor's note: Mary Ward was killed Jan. 22, 2013, while crossing Van Buren in the 1300 block of South Van Buren, approximately 100 feet south of the trail. The point of this opinion is more is needed at the trail crossing, and that is a valid opinion the News & Eagle felt could be published.