OGDEN -- Upset by a long list of pedestrian deaths in the past several months when people have been heading in the dark across Wall Avenue to St. Anne's Shelter and to the Ogden Rescue Mission, members of the Lighthouse Ministries Christian Center in South Ogden have taken on a ministry of safe passage there.
They have named their effort Operation Crosswalk.
Five volunteers and two pastors have been bringing their church van to 26th Street and Wall Avenue, across from St. Anne's Shelter, for the last month in an effort to shed light in that dark area during the nighttime hours of most traffic, between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
"We park there and when we see people approaching the sidewalk, we introduce ourselves and ask if they want a ride," said Pastor Robert Hall.
But Wednesday night, Hall said, he and others recognized that their efforts fell short.
Just after 6 p.m., a man was struck and killed by a car crossing a block away from their spot, at 2775 Wall Ave., in front of the Ogden Rescue Mission.
"We believe if more lighting was down where the crosswalk is with flags, it would have slowed them down," said Betty Hall, also a pastor at the church, referring to the crosswalk where the church members serve.
"You are talking just a block away," she said of the site of the accident.
"We know this particular person didn't take the cross walk," Betty Hall said. "But people shouldn't be killed for crossing the street."
As well as using the van, Lighthouse Ministries members take flashlights to the area for those who refuse a ride but who wish to walk across the street in a more lighted situation.
And the headlights of the van also are used to shed light into the crosswalk.
"Our mission is to light up the way from the (Ogden Rescue) Mission to St. Anne's," Robert Hall said.
The pastors hope to expand their current efforts to include lighting nearer to the Ogden Rescue Mission as well as where they now are set up.
And they are hoping to get more help to do it.
"There are some people in the community who want to do something," Robert Hall said.
And as an engineer, the pastor said shedding light will make a real difference.
"The reaction time of vehicles is dramatically reduced at night due to visibility," he said. "The speed limit stays the same but visibility is reduced, that reduces the reaction time for the drivers."
Robert Hall said he and others recognize that they don't have control over the speed limit but they do have control over the amount of light in the area.
"The community can come together in love and shed a light between the (Ogden Rescue) Mission and the shelter so people won't be killed," he said.
Operation Crosswalk began Nov. 24. That night, eight people were safely shuttled across Wall Avenue, Robert Hall said.
The shuttle averages seven people per night.
But the pastors believe that with more volunteers, more can be done to keep pedestrians safe.
Robert Hall said the need to do more was clear to him when he saw the man who was hit laying in the street Wednesday night.
"Now, we see the need to expand, to go further down between the mission and the shelter," he said.
And he believes the community will rally with more volunteers and businesses who will donate more flashlights coming forward to help light the way.
"There are people in the community that care," he said.
Those wishing to donate any time or resources to the effort are invited to call Robert Hall at 801-391-0058.
Contact reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @jfrancis.