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Drivers pose possible danger to pedestrians near KMS

Posted: August 28, 2013 - 8:24pm

Since school started, Kenai resident Christine Marquis has been walking with her sixth-grade son to the Kenai Middle School. Recently a passing driver who did not want to yield for her and her son honked and cussed at them.

“I could have reached up and touched his truck,” she said.

Because Marquis lives on the north side of the Kenai Spur Highway, she and her son must cross at the only crosswalk on the Spur, at Tinker Lane.

Marquis said her son is one of at least four students that must cross the highway at the crosswalk to get to and from school. Most worrisome to Marquis is that the students often cross alone in the mornings.

“It scares me to think of about that too,” she said. “It’s frustrating.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010 a total of 4,280 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States.

In 2010 pedestrian deaths accounted for 13 percent of all traffic fatalities, and made up 3 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes.

With Kenai Peninsula Borough Schools in full swing, Kenai Police Sgt. Scott McBride said drivers should watch for children, teens and parents walking to and from schools.

McBride said the Tinker Lane and the Spur is a legal crosswalk for pedestrians.

“The pedestrian has the right of way,” he said. “And the vehicle has to yield to the pedestrian in the cross walk.”

Although McBride said there have been no complaints about the issue, there is a definite need for drivers to be cautious of students this time of year and drive accordingly.

“Watch out for kids,” he said.

He also advised against dressing walkers in blue or black clothing, especially with the looming darkness and winter weather approaching.

“Dress them in light colored clothing, maybe even in reflective gear,” he said.

Soldotna Police Sgt. Duane Kant said officers often patrol school areas in Soldotna and crosswalks would be included in those patrols.

Although Soldotna has few crosswalks that cross the Spur or Sterling highways, Kant said it is important for pedestrians to cross at proper areas.

“Cross (only) at intersections where crosswalks are clearly marked,” he said.

It is also important for those walking to make eye contact with drivers approaching intersections, he said.

“So you can ensure that they see you,” he said.

Marquis said she has had three students use the crosswalk through the years at the Tinker and the Spur to get to school. While she said she wants to see more police patrol the area, she hopes that drivers will pay attention to students crossing.

“It’s been a problem for twenty years,” she said. “My main issue is to bring awareness.”

Reach Sara Hardan at sara.hardan@peninsulaclarion.com.

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spwright
1376
Points
spwright 08/28/13 - 09:55 pm
0
0
School Traffic

8/28/13 Nothing changes the Bad Behavior of Alaskan Drivers than the sight of a POLICE VEHICLE.

Doesn't have to be a Police Vehicle that is occupied w/ a Police Officer. A Vacant Police Vehicle works just fine.

Soldotna Police used to do this for K-Beach Ele School & parked a vacant Police Vehicle across the road in front of the School. It had a immediate Positive effect on the Bad Behavior & Bad Driving. SPW

s2wheel
55
Points
s2wheel 08/29/13 - 01:58 pm
0
0
Buses

The public need to be cautious around the school buses and be curtious to the buses,don't run red lights ,some of the children have to cross in front of the bus,don't pass on corners or hills this makes the driver take evasive action and puts children in the bus at risk,all the driver is trying to do is his or hers job,so don't be rude to them.

aspiecelia
109
Points
aspiecelia 08/29/13 - 03:01 pm
0
0
Typical

This is common behavior of some drivers in this area. I live in Soldotna and either walk or ride a bike. For some strange reason some people hate bike riders, yelling or flipping me off when nothing in particular is going on. There are others who are very polite, even going out of their way to let me go first when I am waiting my turn to cross an intersection. As far as walking goes, people often do not stop at cross walks for pedestrians and there are those who find it hilarious when the streets are full of water to intentionally make it spray on those who are walking. Why? What kind of a person finds this funny? Why would they even care that someone is walking down the sidewalk? I have had close encounters with vehicles, mostly when walking and have learned to be very cautious, especially knowing there are those who drink and drive. Since I walk and ride a bike I have also observed the Soldotna Police using police visibility to deter problems, it works.

jake
63
Points
jake 08/30/13 - 01:35 pm
0
0
crosswalk

Isn't there a traffic light on the spur hwy. on the st. the middle school is on?

IceSphere
40
Points
IceSphere 08/29/13 - 05:02 pm
0
1
I gave up keeping count of

I gave up keeping count of how many times I have been hit bike riding... I own 3 bikes, all turned to junk by drivers looking one way and driving the other AT A STOP SIGN... And each of them act like they are the only one that almost just killed somebody... None are bright enough to think one of these morons is going to hit one of their kids (not even cops that live off money to fix the problem), "Make sure the driver knows what he is doing in a car"... If you let drivers stop in, and drive through cross walks with pedestrians, cops are just as guilty of negligent driving... Allowing businesses to put mini stop signs at the end of a driveway, like pedestrians don't really have the right of way... They even think they have the right to hit you in a parking lot with a 5 mph speed limit... Look and see how afraid they are of each others bad driving- Even with the sidewalks closed, some would rather risk killing a person, than move over into a lane with more aggressive drivers... They would rather risk hitting a target as big as a moose, than use the center lane of the highway... Not many targets bigger than a moose... "Get your moose on, only drive the outside lane"... Wake Up Call, just like health care, you are forced to pay for allowing morons to drive, and guess what the cops will tell you after one of them hits you.

IceSphere
40
Points
IceSphere 08/29/13 - 05:30 pm
0
0
DMV

Try putting this question on a driving test... "When driving, who or what do you need to stop for at a stop sign"... EVERYTHING... stop means stop... Even if the sign is 10 yards back form the road and 12 feet off the ground (like the city has on the highway).

msjinxie
110
Points
msjinxie 08/30/13 - 04:31 pm
0
1
Education

People its simple. If its not safe to cross you do not cross. You go
heading across a busy road intended for vehicles going 50mph, its asking for trouble and you need to find another way to cross. Period. I'm tired of everyone bending the rules because people are so lazy they don't bother to show their children how to cross a street safely, ride their bike on the PROPER side of the road, yielding to traffic the right way as a pedestrian. Without some teaching, of course there are going to be accidents. Sorry, adding yet MORE officers (sorry they are busy enough) to take care of a problem someone is to lazy to fix on their own. Some say its been like this for 20 years? FIND ANOTHER WAY to cross safely. Put it this way, would you cross a known bear path with your children, just because it would cut your walk time down by 15 minutes, chancing a bear attack? Or stick to the longer route that would ensure your safety and get you there alive? DO THE MATH.

analaskancitizen
53
Points
analaskancitizen 08/30/13 - 07:53 pm
0
0
crossing the street

So, I did the math as instructed by the previous comment.

There is a stop sign.
There is a cross walk.
The problem is that way too many drivers consider this last stop light (or first one if coming from Soldotna) to be either optional or a speed up on yellow opportunity.
That is my intersection and several times a week while we await our turn on the Spur, cars and trucks run the light.
So, blaming the kids and their families for having to get across the street and thinking that if only they'd correct their behavior it would be okay - is crazy. A significant number of drivers (and it only takes one) do not obey the law.
Of course if the police were there 24/7 it might help. (not a great use of resouces however) A better solution might be for folks to obey the law and prepare to stop when it's yellow and stop when it is red. Simple solution I'd say!

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 09/01/13 - 04:28 pm
0
0
Crosswalk Drama

Apparently, you folks haven't figured out Crossing Guards?

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