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It's downtown ... slow down!

March 18, 2009 - Lee Smith
I've worked in downtown Fairmont for 13 years now, so I'm not surprised when it comes to people's driving habits. That doesn't mean I'm pleased.

The street in downtown Fairmont is called "Downtown Plaza." A "plaza" is a public square or shopping center. That was the idea behind improvements and renaming of the street in the late 1970s. The plan was to create a more shopper-friendly zone, with no parking meters, a more pleasing look and shoppers freely roaming. A mall-like street with no cars never developed, but downtown should still be a place where drivers respect pedestrians and other drivers.

That's not the way things work. Many drivers treat Downtown Plaza like the Indy speedway. They don't care about people trying to cross or cars backing up. Instead they just go their merry way, zooming carelessly by. They are hazards to everyone.

I'd like to say these drivers are just the anticipated teen males showing off. But that's not the case. I've seen moms in minivans, couples in coupes and dowagers in Dodges exceeding the speed limit, apparently desperately late. Perhaps for a remedial driving course? Doubtful.

In any case, I don't think it's too much to ask people to slow down and be a little more courteous. Your speedy habits won't be important, clever or funny when you hurt or kill someone.


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