Northwest NEWS

June 19, 2000


Potential for tragedy remains

   I am writing this letter because I witnessed a near tragedy in front of my house on Friday, June 9th, at approximately 8:35 a.m., and I fear the potential for other tragedies still remains in my neighborhood.

   My friend's daughter came around the front of her mother's parked car to cross the street to me and was struck by a car. Thankfully, she is okay--this time. But I can still remember the child's look of surprise when the car hit her and the way her body was thrown up in the air like a rag doll. I can still hear my screams and her mother's.

   I do not know the driver, but friends tell me she is a good, conscientious driver. Aren't we all? She was simply trying to get her first grader to school on time at East Ridge Elementary, and the only way she could get to the school was to drive through my development, Saybrook Estates.

   My concern is that as more and more schools are being built inside residential areas, a large traffic volume is being created on streets which were not designed for it. The stretch of road in front of my house was designed with a blind curve if you are coming from the school, and a steep hill you drive down if you are going to school.

   The car which hit my friend's daughter was coming down the hill; thank God she had slowed down--undoubtedly seeing me on the side of the road and the parked car. Most drivers do not. The impact at 15mph was horrific; I can't imagine what it would have been like even at 25mph.

   There are always activities at the school, evening events and weekend sports. During these times, traffic is terrible. I have personally witnessed near misses and last-minute braking. Our neighborhood is filled with young children. People need to slow down. No softball game or dentist appointment is worth a child's life. No child should have to pay for poor time management.

   School districts and local governments need to do more to manage the traffic inside our neighborhoods, traffic created by schools built within them. If there are two ways to access a school, utilize them. Cut traffic flow.

   No one can truly realize the horror of a child being hit by a car unless they witness it. I did, and hope to never do so again. Slow down and pay attention while you are driving in neighborhoods on the way to your schools.

Perri Brown, Woodinville