‘That’s not where I’d want to be’ – Eagle-Vail pedestrians must be light on feet
EAGLE-VAIL – George Merritt sees close calls every day.Merritt works at the Shop n’ Hop store in Eagle-Vail. From his vantage point along Highway 6, he sees pedestrians, bicycles and cars mixing along a stretch of road meant almost entirely for vehicles. “I lost my driver’s license for a year, so I’ve been one of those pedestrians,” Merritt said. “It’s very dangerous.”That danger comes from both drivers and pedestrians, Merritt said. Too many drivers go too fast through a stretch of road that sees a lot of foot traffic, from people walking to the bus stops, the convenience store, or taking the longer trek to Avon’s big box stores. The area is also home to a school, the Vail Academy. It’s when the school zone lights are flashing that Merritt sees drivers at their scariest.”You’ll see people passing cars in the school zones,” he said. “I saw it three times the other day. People really need to pay more attention.”
Once pedestrians get to William Post Boulevard, the road that leads to the big stores, there are sidewalks, crosswalks and streetlights. Walking from Post Boulevard west on Highway 6, though, the scene changes. There are few streetlights, and most people walk on the shoulder of the road.”There are a lot of people who don’t have cars who live there, and there are places where there are some sidewalks that go to no sidewalks,” said Bob Finlay, a member of the Eagle-Vail Metropolitan District’s board of directors, which functions kind of like a town government. “As a pedestrian or bike rider, that’s not where I’d want to be.”But, Finlay said, the highway through Eagle-Vail is better than it was years ago.”At least there are shoulders there,” said Peter Kozinski, the local engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation. “There aren’t any in Edwards.”That doesn’t mean Kozinski thinks that stretch of highway is exactly safe.The transportation department’s traffic office doesn’t consider that stretch of highway exceptionally dangerous. But Kozinski acknowledged that some changes could make the road safer.”Lighting would be fairly easy, it looks like there’s ample power available,” Kozinski said. “Maybe we could double-stripe the shoulder to make it more clear for pedestrians.”
But, Kozinski added, the state doesn’t have any plans to do any major work along the highway, so any requests for more lights would have to come from the county or the neighborhood. So far, Kozinski said he hasn’t heard any requests.But, Merritt said, improvements are needed, which could be as simple as drivers slowing down and pedestrians wearing light-colored clothing after dark.”If you’re going to encourage people to use mass transit, it definitely should be safer,” he said.===============A short, hectic walkThe Shop n’ Hop store in Eagle-Vail is easy walking distance from apartment and condo complexes including:
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