Woodstock Avenue changes needed
After almost 45 years, Woodstock Avenue, reconfigured around 1970 from two travel lanes and two parallel parking lanes, is being made safer and saner. It should be.
Conditions have changed with decreasing traffic counts since 2002 and a steady accident rate of one motor vehicle accident per week for the past six years (2008-13). Woodstock Avenue, with no shoulders is simply unsafe. Even walking along it, often only 3.5 feet from the road, exposes pedestrians to noise and wind and, when wet, spray. Some have been hit with a wall of water if their timing is bad.
It’s always been unsafe. In the early ’70s a young boy chasing his football onto the road was struck and maimed for life with crippling injuries to both legs. More recently, a woman walking for her health was struck while legally crossing in the crosswalk. She is permanently paralyzed from the neck down. Its not surprising that mothers will not let their children walk or cycle to school if they have to cross routes 4 or 7.
Rutland City’s leadership has listened to the Complete Street concerns of AARP and Rutland Physical Activity Coalition that stressed the need for safe, walkable streets throughout the city. It also heeded the advice of professional traffic planners (Susan Schreibman of RPC and Jon Kaplan of Vt. Agency of Transportation) who applied the 2010 federal directive requiring that pedestrians and cyclists have equal treatment on the nation’s roads.
Unlike the leadership of General Motors, Rutland City’s should be commended for caring about the safety and health of its residents and visitors — all of them, even those too young to vote.
THEODORE SHATTUCK, M.D.