Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Slow Traffic On Duke

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Slow Traffic On Duke

The most recent Gazette Packet brought the sad news of a third traffic fatality on Duke Street, within, I'm quite sure, a decade. Since the last, only a few years ago, the city and the police department have both worked hard to improve walkways and traffic crossings and to control traffic. Yet Duke Street remains a zoo, a speedway for many drivers, punctuated by turn offs for stores and shopping centers. In fact, the unseemly corpse of Landmark Mall is probably a blessing in its way, since few cars enter or exit there.

The police monitor traffic constantly; there was, briefly, a radar device near the library. But so far nothing has worked. Heading west, just after that point, drivers gun their engines as if entering a freeway.

Are three fatalities enough to merit really radical action? Only a half mile or so away, speed bumps have recently been constructed on Jordan between Seminary and Howard, a stretch of road which pedestrians never cross, since there's no sidewalk and nothing but trees on one side; there are few pedestrians anyway. For some reason attention is lavished on this stretch of road; it even has permanent radar. It seems incomparably less dangerous than Duke Street. Has it had any fatalities? I've never seen a collision there, nor even anyone stopped for speeding.

Could these two measures — speed bumps and permanent radar — be tried on Duke? I can imagine the screams of protest. But three lives in 10 years, one an 8-year-old girl, isn't that a lot to tolerate? Too much to tolerate?

Many cities, in my experience, have streets like Duke, zoos. But that doesn't make it any easier to stomach.

Elisabeth Vodola