Our View: Kent traffic poses serious problem

DKS Editors

Last October, the Stater had an article discussing plans for the improvement of Summit Street that included “relieving congestion, addressing safety and creating a better corridor for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.” These plans have been discussed for years, yet no improvements have been made.

Summit Street is within the top 10 crash zones in Kent.

A car hit a pedestrian Tuesday at the intersection of Morris and Summit streets, where there is a crosswalk but no crossing signal. This student was not the first to be hit on Summit and more than likely will not be the last. It is a glaring example of how the countless pedestrians in Kent are at risk because of a failure to update traffic signals.

Many will say drivers and pedestrians alike simply need to pay more attention to what they are doing — drivers, yield to pedestrians; pedestrians, look both ways before crossing. But the reality is we are all humans and we make mistakes.

Improvements — as simple as the installation of crossing signals at every crosswalk — could be made to the several dangerous intersections along the mile of Summit Street from Loop Road to Lincoln Street.

We are aware that the city has a plan for such improvements, but the project should  begin and be finished without further delay. In the article from last October, we found out that work wouldn’t start until the summer of 2015, with an expected completion date of 2017. That’s another three years of students encountering dangerous traffic situations on their way to classes.

With the increasing number of apartment complexes along Summit Street, even more students are crossing the road multiple times a day, whether they be near Loop or Lincoln.

Luckily, the student struck Tuesday didn’t suffer any fatal injuries, but she shouldn’t have had to suffer injuries at all. Walking to class shouldn’t come with a fear of being hit by a car.

As the project begins next year, we think the city should pay attention to the most dangerous intersections first — such as South Lincoln and Summit — so that these problems are addressed. Even temporary fixes until the project is completed would be preferable to the current dangers posed to all Kent pedestrians.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.