Those who live near St. Anne’s Center in Ogden, a homeless center, are correct in their request for better traffic safety procedures in the neighborhood. Two clients of the shelter, located on Wall Avenue near 26th Street, have been killed by vehicles traveling on Wall. At night, the visibility is very low. Jennifer Canter, St. Anne’s director, says she figures 12 shelter clients have been injured or killed on the street in the past year.
Recently, there was a demonstration near the shelter urging officials to devise a safer manner to cross the street. Crossing the street against traffic is undeniably a deadly risk. However, it is a risk that too many shelter users have taken. That’s a tragedy. Given the location of the shelter, its distance between streetlights, the risk some patrons are taking where it is illegal to cross the street and the fact that some vehicles clearly exceed the speed limit, there needs to be a crosswalk — with lights that can be activated upon request — on Wall Avenue that leads to the center.
Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, to his credit, is listening to those concerned about the safety of St. Anne’s shelter clients. He has asked the Utah Department of Transportation to study the situation. That has happened. According to a UDOT spokesman, a traffic study on Wall between 25th and 29th streets is under way. UDOT has been involved in any determination made because Wall Avenue is a state road.
We hope Caldwell and other officials will lobby UDOT hard for an OK for a crosswalk with a light that stops vehicles upon request. The street is dangerous — period. The recent deaths and injuries there are evidence. In the meantime, we hope the city can find ways to better light the area in the evening. Also, police should vigorously enforce jaywalking laws by ticketing violators and make sure that drivers on Wall who exceed speed limits are stopped and ticketed. Given the deaths, this should be a top priority.
We also hope that St. Anne’s will start a fundraising effort to go with any contribution Ogden city makes to make the area safer for pedestrians on Wall Avenue. Given the activism we’ve seen, we think such an effort would be successful.