Safety: Drivers, pedestrians use caution on Garfield

Garfield Avenue is not exactly a quiet stretch of roadway. It, like most roads in Parkersburg, requires drivers and pedestrians to slow down, pay attention and avoid distractions. But with positive news for the area — the opening of the Parkersburg Cardiology Associates and WVU Heart and Vascular Institute building at WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center — comes another reason for vigilance.

Local officials and law enforcement know there is concern about pedestrian safety. Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin says Garfield Avenue has become a “targeted enforcement area.” And, of course, Camden Clark President and CEO Steve Altmiller points out there is already a designated crosswalk, and walkway above — from the main hospital into the medical office building — and signs all over the place warning drivers to slow down.

Quite a bit has already been done to try to make the area safer for pedestrians.

But we live in a “Why doesn’t somebody (else) do something!?” culture. The other piece of this safety puzzle is simple:

Drivers: Slow down. Put down your smartphones, or whatever else is keeping you from watching the road and obeying traffic laws. Keep an eye out for those trying to cross the street.

And pedestrians: Look before you step into the road. Don’t bet that you can get across faster than the car you see is approaching. Use the designated crosswalk. Or, better yet, use the walkway built specifically for the purpose of keeping you out of the street to begin with.

Martin is probably right that as the weather warms up, there will be even more people trying to walk across Garfield (and not just near the hospital).

Let us hope they, and the drivers who must watch for them, are using their heads.

There is, unfortunately, nothing the hospital, the police or any public official can do to ensure that.