Editorial: Time to take care of crosswalk | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Editorial: Time to take care of crosswalk

Everyone who drives down the Highway 50 corridor past Stateline on a regular basis knows the problem: Pedestrians hesitantly dipping their toes into the crosswalk in front of Heavenly Village as if it were a cold pool, while cars, trucks and SUVs blaze by, either unaware or inconsiderate of their desire to cross.

It’s a dangerous spot on a section of street that already has too many lights, too many cars (a lot of the time), and too much foot traffic. In the last year alone, three fender benders have occurred at the crosswalk, and one pedestrian has been hit and injured; last week Kathy Martineau suffered broken ribs and had to get 12 stitches after she was struck on her way to work at Heavenly Mountain Resort.

With tourism increasing, the problem will only get worse. So let’s do something about it. A proposal for a new time-share development on the north side of the highway includes a possible solution – an underground tunnel – but we shouldn’t predicate improving the crosswalk on the approval of a commercial project.

Bright signs and flashing lights apparently aren’t enough to get drivers to stop on this five-lane section of highway. It may be time to think about installing a traffic signal, a footbridge, or moving ahead with the underground tunnel. Short of removing the crosswalk, possible solutions to the problem are few. But if the situation is not resolved, more pedestrians will be injured, and some may even be killed. Upgrading the intersection is an expensive proposition, but how do you place value on safety? How do you place value on lives lost?

It’s a safety issue that is also a South Tahoe community issue. A big slice of our local population works in the downtown area. Thousands are employed at the casinos, others work at the shops and restaurants in the redevelopment and surrounding areas. All contend with traffic as part of their daily routines.

We all know the problem exists. We see it every day. How many accidents will it take before we do what is right?