By: Jodi Peterson-Stigers

Word on the Street Issue 42, April 2024

. . .

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” 

“If a homeless person gets hit by a car but there is no family to cry out does it matter?”

On March 11, a guest at Interfaith Sanctuary was riding his bike on 15th Street near Rhodes Skatepark and the connector overpass when he was suddenly hit by a car. The driver did not see him until the car had already run over his body and stopped on top of him. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with several fractures to his skull, a traumatic brain injury and broken ribs. He has been intubated and remains in the hospital with a very small chance of survival.  

This man, who is homeless, was riding in the very area where the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) is looking to make improvements to create a safer road system for the pedestrians and bikers who navigate this road on a regular basis. 

Construction for the 15th and 16th Street Pedestrian Crossings at Front Street was expected to start in March. While we await construction, curiosity grows amongst the staff at Interfaith Sanctuary about whether or not this construction will go far enough to keep pedestrians safe. 

In other words, are we able to reevaluate and add another crosswalk to the plans that ACHD have for the area?

The purpose of this project is to improve safety and increase connectivity for pedestrians.

The project description provided by ACHD includes currently includes:

  • Install a rectangular rapid flashing beacon (RRFB) across 15th Street at Front Street
  • Install a rectangular rapid flashing beacon (RRFB) across 16th Street at Front Street
  • Reconstruct adjacent pedestrian ramps to meet modern standards

Will this redesign go far enough to remove the dangers for pedestrians and bikers who are being killed and injured just past the area in which this work is being done? Could we go a bit further by adding a mid-block crosswalk with rapid flash beacons across Americana Blvd. and Cooper Ct. St to ensure safe and effective pedestrian transport for all who use the area frequently?