Speaking of safety on the streets and the rare occasion when SDOT undertakes a serious road repair, is anyone bothering with an adequate pedestrian safety plan around construction sites?
Saturday saw the complete closure for reconstruction of the intersection of 80th and Greenwood Avenue. The backhoe derby in the street coincided with the annual Halloween candy tramp sponsored by the merchants in Mayor McGinn’s neighborhood all along Greenwood Avenue. Scores of young witches, angels, and superheroes and their significant elders skirted the construction, past torn up and absent crosswalks. The walkers flowed constantly across 80th just feet from the work zone. No barriers. No orange fence. No cones . No caution tape. One lonely flagger.
Good practice requires SDOT and its contractors to prepare a formal safety plan for a project like this. Nothing like an adequate plan was in evidence for the pedestrians. It was an omission all the more egregious in the neighborhoods. And even more so on a prominent kids (and parents) day in the fall sunshine out on the streets.
Safety on the streets is everybody’s responsibility, all the time. An SDOT construction project allowed to look like this (by 2 pm Saturday a bit of vigorous citizen prodding to the SDOT inspector had produced only a field expedient ribbon of caution tape) really puts the question of whether the safety emphasis and the safety culture at SDOT are what it should be.
There’s plenty of work to be done at the Road Safety Summit. Work zone safety for passers-by definitely should be on the list, especially when public road projects or adjacent private construction projects close sidewalks and crosswalks.
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