Fruita is a small western Colorado town, but is its downtown getting too dangerous for pedestrians?

There has been some discussion on the Downtown Fruita Facebook page about an incident that happened Thursday morning. A woman pushing a baby stroller was nearly hit by a motorist "going too fast and not paying attention."

The woman who was nearly hit, Sabrina M., commented on Facebook that "it was incredibly scary how close our family came to losing everything due to an inattentive aggressive driver."

That's the whole point right there - how quickly things can happen, and how in a moment's time a person's life can be changed forever needlessly.

What if that car had hit Sabrina or her stroller and killed her two-year-old son. How unnecessarily tragic that would be. The fact is, this sort of thing happens every day in America, and it could happen right here in Fruita, Colorado.

Google Street View
Google Street View

I contacted Sabrina and she told me this happened at a crosswalk where traffic enters the big circle - which is essentially a huge roundabout. One vehicle stopped to allow her to cross, but a pair of trailing vehicles apparently became impatient and went around the stopped vehicle, not realizing it was stopped for pedestrians. She says it was the second trailing vehicle, a large maroon truck or SUV, that came within inches of striking her son and her dog.

So the first order of business is to get people to start paying attention to their driving - no matter how big or how small the town may be. Each of us needs to start taking the problem of distracted driving seriously before we critically injure someone - or worse. And even if we aren't being distracted, are we watching out for those on foot?

Additionally, as Sabrina pointed out to me, is a lesson to be learned by pedestrians. Always make eye contact with the driver before entering a crosswalk, even when you have the right-of-way. Never assume that they see you and are expecting you to cross.

The second thing is the question of whether or not downtown Fruita is a dangerous place for pedestrians. The people who would best know this are the people that live there and work there and are regularly present in downtown Fruita. I would love to have the perspective of the locals.

One Facebook poster mentioned that the downtown Fruita development plan incorporates some major "traffic calming" features, but wondered if something can be done in the meantime to make downtown Fruita a safer place for pedestrians. And so I ask the question, what would that be? What could be done to make Fruita a safer place? Do you feel this is a case of overreaction to an isolated incident?

Personally, I believe this is an issue that we need to take seriously. This incident has a happy ending, but there is no guarantee the next one will end as well as this one did.

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