In January of this year, my husband, Karl Schweinfurth, and I invited a group of our neighbors to meet with representatives of the city of Walla Walla to share our joint concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety in our neighborhood. We identified three dangerous intersections -- Chestnut and Howard, Bryant and Howard, and Catherine and Bryant.
Mayor Barbara Clark, City Engineer Wrandoll Brenes and Capt. Gary Bainter of the Walla Walla Police Department were in attendance. At that meeting we first learned that our portion of Bryant Avenue (the section west of Howard Street) was potentially to be included in the initial three infrastructure improvement projects slated for completion in 2010. The timing was advantageous for considering changes that would make the corner of Catherine and Bryant safer.
Having lived at this corner for a number of years, my husband and I had observed traffic violations on a minute-by-minute basis. Traffic more often than not did not come to a full stop at the eastbound stop sign. Frequently, westbound traffic did not come to a full stop before continuing west on Bryant.
An added hazard was the speed with which cars and trucks were taking the wide turn from Catherine to Bryant or vice versa. This intersection was also frequently used to make U-turns. All of the above hazards were exacerbated during slick and icy weather conditions.
Our neighborhood is a wonderfully diverse mix including a number of young families and many active older adults. In addition, the neighborhood is also enjoyed by walkers, joggers, bicyclers, kids on scooters, dogs, cats, ducks and more.
We appreciate representatives of the City of Walla Walla for their willingness to listen and respond to our concerns. The infrastructure project brought us new sewer and water lines, street surface and curbs and also included a narrowed intersection and a full three-way stop. We hope this will improve the safety for all who pass by.