Village traffic safety still needs our attention

To the Editor:

I agree with Ernie Goodrich (Letter, Shelburne News, Sept. 27) that village traffic has noticeably increased.

However, contrary to his assertions, the Village Pedestrian Safety Group has pursued a very long and thorough process with town officials and professionals in proposing improvements. And the group has bent over backwards to minimize costs.

As to time spent by town employees – first, residents are the ones who have devoted the most time, and second, why shouldn’t officials be involved?

Traffic safety is emphasized in the town plan, and officials should care about village quality of life. Also, no one is suggesting that Falls Road be altered in any way that would impede emergency vehicles, etc. The goal, recommended by professionals, is to change the landscape in careful ways to shift drivers’ perception of what’s ahead. If they don’t feel invited to zoom down an open road, they slow down.

Did you note the two-car collision at Falls and Church on Sept. 26? Accidents are occurring.

My neighbor is still regaining her ability to walk many months after being clipped by a car here in town. Which raises the question – how many accidents and of what severity are required to justify addressing speed and safety?

Consider that the risk for significant pedestrian injury is 25 percent if the car is traveling at 23 mph; 50 percent if traveling at 31 mph; 75 percent if traveling at 39 mph. 

It’s important for us to be talking about safety in light of today’s changed village traffic reality. Route 7 is morphing into a mini I89. The Falls/Marsett Roads corridor is morphing into a mini Route 7.

There are choices that can and – I hope – will be made so the village remains a livable community. Places like South Burlington are struggling to restore that. Shelburne still has it and the task is to preserve and cultivate it.

Jim White

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