To the editor:

Help me understand just why citizens really get invited to public meetings! Many of us on County Road 42 got invited to an "open house" on the County Road 42 project ... public input - a sign of democracy in action? At first, we thought county staff were listening to our pedestrian and children's safety concerns. Then we got the impression it may be a "rubber stamp" invite ... just too many "studies" to be done or other red-tape excuses. We had hoped city staff would attend.

It is important to understand how speed impacts safety! Let's work together to fix this ongoing problem within the city of Hastings on County Road 42 by lowering the speed limit, erecting neon green pedestrian flashing signs (like many cities in the area), putting in stop signs, having police/sheriff presence, and/or routing out-of-town traffic to Highway 55 where it should be. County Road 42 is a winding country road that extends from a city street. Highway 55 is a well-developed, wide roadway; it was designed for a high-traffic load and can handle cars and big trucks.

As spring is near, this is good time to examine our community's roads. A known fact is that increased traffic speeds and volumes will increase the risk of children/senior and general pedestrian's injuries. Pedestrian safety has been of recent concern across the state. But, there is something larger that is out of whack, it is the lack of a pervasive "safety culture" in driving. It's an attitude that puts vehicular mobility ahead of neighborhood livability.

County Road 42 is in fact, a city street and a county road. It has a major walking/biking trail that crosses a busy city street/county road three to four times. There are driveways, intersections, bus stops, day cares, nursing homes, kids playing/sledding, clinic entrances, and the people are walking, jogging, biking, skateboarding and walking dogs as the traffic noisily roars past. Vehicles do not even have to slow down at an intersection or for a hospital zone!

Karen Seeling McInnis