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A 6,300 pound Toyota SUV struck a child at Shorewood and West Shore Drive on October 2nd

A 6,300 pound Toyota SUV struck a child at Shorewood and West Shore Drive on October 2nd. The child was taken to the hospital; his bike was crushed. The incident has been widely discussed on social media. 


What people may not know is that a year ago the town spent a bunch of money and effort to create a safety zone along that section of West Shore Drive. The work was done in conjunction with the Rail Trail project. During the design phase, town officials showed the public certain safety features; these were also included in the town’s Complete Streets prioritization list sent to the state and in the grant application.


These were consciously scrapped (i.e. not simply overlooked) by public officials just before work began. The public can’t know why these safety features were eliminated because no record was kept, although we do know that the impact on safety was not considered.


In the days following the bicycle crash, the MPD conducted “targeted enforcement” in that location during the school rush hour. A half dozen citations a day were issued during those brief hours—and one can only imagine how many more violations there would have been absent police cruisers or during the time that MPD cruisers were nabbing each scofflaw.


The good news is that we now have the opportunity to do remedial work on that location using the $1.43 million in ARPA funds already approved for that section of the Rail Trail. Targeted enforcement doesn’t help directly— it is only being done after the fact. But, the high number of citations does provide all of the data our elected officials need to prompt them to investigate, ask difficult questions, and keep our children safe.


Dan Albert

Leicester Road