It isn’t a secret how busy the intersection of 1st Street and Bridge Avenue in Saratoga is on any given day.
Wyoming Highway 130, which becomes 1st Street once it enters town limits, is the route to the Snowy Range, the Sierra Madres and Northern Colorado. For that reason, vehicles of all shapes and sizes—from sedans to recreational vehicles to semi-trucks—make their way through the center of town. This, however, also creates a safety issue.
We at the Saratoga Sun would like to commend Councilmember Jon Nelson for speaking with the Wyoming Department of Transportation about painting crosswalks at this dangerous intersection. We also commend Councilmember Jon Nelson for raising the issue of the sight triangle at this intersection.
The fact that Councilmember D’Ron Campbell stated she teaches her children not to use this intersection when driving speaks volumes.
Far too often, it seems, traffic accidents have occurred because of limited visibility. With larger vehicles, including recreational vehicles and trucks hauling stock trailers, parking on the side of 1st Street creates a dangerous situation. In many cases, someone attempting to head southbound on 1st Street from East Bridge Avenue has to nearly pull out into oncoming traffic just to see if any other vehicles are approaching.
With limited visibility and a 30 mile per hour speed limit, it is a recipe for disaster.
That goes double for pedestrians. When larger vehicles are parked alongside this busy section of highway, people wanting to cross the street have to step out into the street to see if they can safely cross. For the moment, there have only been collisions between vehicles which have occurred at this intersection. We hope there will never be a situation in which a pedestrian is struck trying to cross.
So, while we commend the Saratoga Town Council for beginning to address this issue by requesting the Wyoming Department of Transportation paint crosswalks, we also believe there is more to be done. We will stop short of suggesting a traffic light, though we feel one would be beneficial at this intersection. There are other ways to approach this issue.
We would first propose the Saratoga Town Council begin examining ways in which parking can still be convenient while also promoting the safety of other drivers and pedestrians. The Platte Valley Community Center, which is just blocks from downtown Saratoga, has ample parking when there isn’t a major event taking place so perhaps visitors with larger vehicles could be directed there. It is also possible the Town of Saratoga may need to look into other areas in which a municipal parking lot could be developed.
Like with so many other issues which face Saratoga, there isn’t an easy or quick answer to this. It will take some time. It will likely take some money. It may even mean more enforcement by the Saratoga Police Department.
Are we really going to put a price on the safety of our residents and guests?
A crosswalk is a great start but we can, and should, do more.