Bob Emery: A proposal for Highway 67
By Bob Emery
On numerous occasions in this column, I have written about the many accidents on state Route 67 and have laid the primary blame for those accidents on drivers, and not the road. Headlines regularly scream “Killer Highway 67 strikes again,” or “Blood alley takes more lives.”
The highway did not do anything. In almost every case the cause of the accident was found to be excessive speed, alcohol, drugs, road rage or a combination of some or all of these factors. The point being, cars don’t speed without a driver, nor do they drink or do drugs, and, no car of mine anyway has ever shaken a fist at another vehicle.
Caltrans, over the years, has made many modifications to SR 67. “Rumble strips” in the median, more turn pockets and increased signage. Headlights are required during daytime use on most of the stretch from Lakeside to Ramona. The highway department has been reluctant to put a barrier down the median because it would force dozens of drivers who live east of the highway to go miles out of their way to make a U-turn to then go south. So what do we do?
While driving in the East recently, Pennsylvania to be exact, I ran into a traffic modification program that may fit the Highway 67 problem to a “T.” The program created Highway Safety Corridors where enforcement agencies increased coverage and fines were doubled. Interstate 81 was the area where I encountered the safety corridor (and no, I did not get a ticket).
Why can’t this “Safety Corridor Policy” be tried on SR 67? Double the fines and set up specific, unannounced days for increased enforcement. The three sheriff’s substations, Lakeside, Poway and Ramona, along with the California Highway Patrol could coordinate coverage and make SR 67 a place where you just don’t drive aggressively, drunk or fast and if you do, you pay and pay dearly.
Instituting some form of Safety Corridor may take state legislation or there may already be the tools in place necessary to implement some similar form of policy, but something needs to be done. Maybe we could change the SR 67 slogan from “Drive 55, arrive alive,” to “Drive 67, a little bit of heaven.”
* * * *
Another troubling issue is the disturbing news coming out of Afghanistan these days. Many of our troops are being killed by their Afghan police and army counterparts. The six Marines shot to death on Aug. 10 brought the total U.S. and allied forces killed by Afghans in uniform to 37 this year. This sad fact just exemplifies the quagmire of conflicting loyalties and beliefs that are Afghanistan today. But this is nothing new and we should have learned from the past. Russia (USSR) invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to shore up a leftist government. Ten years later, it withdrew after losing nearly 15,000 dead with many more thousands maimed and crippled. Who drove them out? The Mujahideen, hard line Muslim extremists who did not like their government’s secular approach to Islam and its attempts to break up the war lords’ stranglehold on the rural areas. The irony is, the government being backed by the Russians, was allowing women and girls to go to school, wear western style clothing and go out in public on their own.
This could not continue! The U.S., with the support of its close “democratic” allies, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, supported the Mujahideen with money and weapons to drive the communists out and we succeeded. Where are the Mujahideen today? Many morphed into the Taliban we are fighting today who gave refuge to Osama bin Laden and Al Queda who masterminded the attacks on 9/11. And are the Taliban infiltrators shooting our troops in the back today.
Emery retired from the Poway City Council after serving 28 years. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Short URL: http://www.pomeradonews.com/?p=28168