After five years of study, the Missoula Traffic Committee held a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 27, for comments. I applaud their work, and their study shows significant traffic improvement. My perception as a walker and bike-rider is that, while statistics may show vehicular improvement, some drivers have become more aggressive, to the detriment of all.
Except for having traffic violation-monitoring cameras at some intersections, I believe the appropriate traffic laws are already in place. It is therefore a matter of enforcement of these laws that could make conditions better (safer) for both vehicle drivers and pedestrians. For example, there is a growing number of vehicles, especially large pickup trucks, that have windows so darkened that they do not meet vehicle opacity standards. Because of the window darkness, pedestrians do not know if they are seen by these drivers.
I believe the greatest threat to both drivers and pedestrians, however, is the growing lack of respect or empathy for others (“I'm more important than you so I will step on the gas to go through orange-turning-red stop lights"). Ironically, it is not the fear of death or dismemberment that changes people's behavior, necessarily, but the thought of large fines.
Ian M. Lange,