Safety always a good bet
Crossing Highway 395 anywhere in Douglas County is a challenge for pedestrians. Heck, so’s driving it when you get right down to it.
With all the calls to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths coming from state offices, you’d think fixing crosswalks would be a priority.
However, the struggle has been under way for a decade to make four crosswalks in Gardnerville a little bit safer.
All four crosswalks are regularly used by children to get to and from school. We know that Gardnerville isn’t coming with a bunch of money to get the crosswalks in, but so far the sweat equity alone has been impressive.
There’s light at the end of this tunnel, perhaps, though every update seems to put the improvements a little further out of reach.
In December, the Federal Highway Administration pulled the approval of rectangular rapid flash beacons for crosswalks, so they can’t be used in new construction.
An example of the device can be seen at the Fourth Street crosswalk in Minden.
Four of the systems were proposed for Gardnerville, which poses a new challenge. Because the lights were to be within sight of the town’s historic buildings, the State Historic Preservation Office had to review and approve their use.
New lights proposed for the crosswalks have to go back through that process. You can almost hear Town Manager Tom Dallaire smack his forehead with his hand at that prospect.
Between that and the quadrupling of cost for the work at Kings Lane, the question Gardnerville must answer is a difficult one.
It’s possible the state will resurface Highway 395 through the town in 2020. Should the town take on this work now, or delay and hope it’s done with the rest of the state work?
We believe that where the crosswalks are concerned the safe bet is the best bet. Getting the lights up and the crosswalks improved should be a priority for the town and the state.