Update on those good, pedestrian-empowering vibes

by Tony Helland

HB 1032 did not fare quite so well in committee last Thursday. Proponent testimony focused on the need to give greater respect to pedestrians given the statistics for pedestrian vs. automobile injuries and fatalities in South Dakota. Bill Nevin again stood for the SDDOT and outlined the necessity of this bill. He stated that in the last ten years, cars and trucks have caused 1,065 pedestrian injuries and 79 deaths. “Those are big numbers for a small population state like South Dakota,” commented Nevin. He is definitely right. Currently, when a driver yields the right of way to a pedestrian, there is no objective rule. It is now simply to not endanger or hit the person trying to cross. This bill, as Nevin reminded the committee, would seek to change the culture of car versus the pedestrian – as many have witnessed especially in the state’s larger cities – to car AND pedestrian.

Those good, pedestrian-empowering vibes hit a brick wall when Rep. Jim Stalzer (R-11/Sioux Falls) commented on the possible congestion this bill would cause in a city like Sioux Falls. He made the point that the city has a great many four-lane roads. To stop all that traffic for one pedestrian just did not make sense to him.

This bill is not about cars over pedestrians. It is about fostering a better attitude amongst travelers of all kinds using whatever modes of transport may be available to them. To favor one mode over the other for convenience sake is robbing that fair use from pedestrian travelers. Given the history of pedestrian injuries and deaths over the past couple of years in Sioux Falls alone, one would think Rep. Stalzer more appreciative of the motives behind HB1032. I also highly doubt that HB1032 would have caused an rush of walkers needing to cross overly congested roadways. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if it did?

Unfortunately we probably won’t resolve that question. HB1032 was tabled in committee by a vote of 9 -4.

_______

You can access and listen to the testimony by using this link: http://sdpb.sd.gov/SDPBPodcast/2015/htr07.mp3

Discussion regarding HB1030 begins at 24:16. Discussion over HB1032 starts at 1:27:29.

You can access and listen to the testimony by using this link: http://sdpb.sd.gov/SDPBPodcast/2015/htr07.mp3

Discussion regarding HB1030 begins at 24:16. Discussion over HB1032 starts at 1:27:29.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: