Monday, October 8, 2012

Leave Pilot Butte open for all

Crumbling roadway is main hazard on Pilot Butte
There's been a little chatter recently about the potential, given all the foot and vehicle traffic, for a tragic accident on Pilot Butte State Park.

Some have suggested closing Pilot Butte to cars.

Well, after recently joining the 300-mile club on Pilot Butte, I don't see such a huge problem.

Yes, some cars go too fast up or down the butte and are too aggressive around those on foot. Slow down. The posted speed limit is 20 mph.

Yes, some hikers, bikers and people with strollers don't pay enough attention to others on the road and believe they have every right to be in the middle of the road. A courtesy sign in the beginning suggests walking up the shoulder.

First off, there is a road that goes up the butte. Cars are allowed and pedestrians should be watchful as they are on any street. It's wise to get out of the way of moving vehicles.

Secondly, the road, due to icy conditions, is closed for about half the year anyway.

Thirdly, not everyone is capable of or has the time to climb the butte.

Fourthly, while pushing a double-wide stroller up the butte is impressive, it comes with risks.

Fifthly, there is a dirt/gravel path alongside the roadway that accommodates most of the pedestrian traffic. However, it has some pebbles/rocks that make it difficult to push a stroller up or down it.

There is also another dirt/sandy/rocky path that parallels the road, but it's not good for strollers or bicycles.

Just as the few who don't pick up after their dog on the butte give all dog-owners a black eye, so do those occasional drivers, who believe they can just race up the butte, taint all drivers. Again, slow down and be respectful of others on the road.

One problem I see on the butte is the crumbling roadway, particularly on the east-facing side. Pieces of asphalt break off like cookie crumbles on the outside edge, which make the roadway even more narrow than it is.

This, in turn, can be really hazardous when cars cross each other at the same time as people are walking the butte.

The state needs to take better care of the road.

And everyone needs to be a little more considerate of their fellow traveler.

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