Normally, we source and fact-check the claims, references, and implications of what makes it onto these pages. One exception is in the editorial. We can freewheel it a bit in this section.
If there’s something I’m not sure can be backed up with a quote or some other reference, that’s material for the editorial. So the current width of the highway through town is a perfect topic.
You might think it easy to answer the question, “Is the highway as wide as it was before the construction?” but it isn’t so. The thing is, the road through town wasn’t ever a model of mathematical precision. There never was a straight answer to the question, “How wide is the highway through Burns Lake?”
And it’s less precise now, with the addition of curb bulbs and medians. Does a ‘mountable’ median take away from available road space, or does it just make that space slightly less convenient?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the highway is as wide as it ever was, for all practical effect. The parking curbs that jut out into the roadway – curb bulbs as they’re termed – don’t extend out past where a parked car would be, much less a parked flat-deck, cube van or planter’s crummy out front of the laundromat.
You can confirm this by taking a walk through downtown. You’ll notice that for the most part, all curbs are exactly where they were before the construction, except for the new ones. And the new ones don’t protrude out beyond the space that a parked vehicle would take up. So it’s like having a car permanently parked every so often.
This may not be much of a selling point to many people, but this isn’t a sales pitch.
Speaking of walking through town, have you noticed the new pedestrian crosswalks along the way? Do you know what to do when you approach a signed crosswalk and there’s a pedestrian waiting to cross?
For that matter, do you know what to do if a pedestrian is trying to cross the road anywhere, marked crosswalk or not?
I’m no expert, but after doing some cursory research online, it appears drivers are not allowed to run over pedestrians – even if they’re crossing the road where they’re not supposed to – and pedestrians are not allowed to jump out into the street without some due diligence before hand.
If a motorist doesn’t have time to react to your lurch into traffic, whether at a crosswalk or in the middle of the street, you’re on your own. You may be run over and become a victim without a legally culpable perp.
On the other hand, drivers need to anticipate that a person might be waiting to cross at a crosswalk, and if there is such a person, then the driver needs to stop.
Having had my driver’s license for much longer than I ever didn’t have a driver’s license, I freely admit that I’ve forgotten all but the most basic aspects of traffic law.
Stop on red, go on green. Don’t run anybody over. Observe posted speed limits. Wear your seat belt. Share the road with cyclists. And finally, pay attention to the extra crosswalks in Burns Lake.