‘Please vote for our safety’ on Broadway


(1/20/2021)

From: Jennifer L. B. Anderson

 

My husband and I bought a home on Broadway in January of 2015.  In May 2015, we welcomed our first son into the world. On October 20, my husband’s family were visiting, and we were sitting in our living room, which has a large picture window looking onto Broadway. Shortly after 9 p.m. that evening, emergency vehicle lights lit up the street in front of our home.

That evening, a WSU student, Britney Rayla Nelson, was walking north along Harriet and crossing Broadway when she was struck by a car. We only knew that something bad had happened when we heard the sirens. There was a person lying in the crosswalk on the east side of the intersection. Apparently, Britney had been crossing Broadway on the west side of the intersection; when she was hit, her body flew across the intersection and landed in front of my house. Newspapers reported that Britney was airlifted to Gundersen having suffered skull fractures and brain and spinal injuries. By early November, Britney was at a rehabilitation center learning to walk again.

I live four blocks from the WSU campus and students walk around this part of town all the time, often at night. Since Britney’s accident, the lights along Broadway have been replaced, but in my opinion that’s just a small step toward solving the real problem. The proposed redesign for Broadway from a four-lane to a three-lane road is the right thing to do to make this busy road near campus and downtown a safer place for everyone. Pedestrians would be safer, bicyclists would have their own lane, upgrades to the ramps and sidewalks would provide more accessibility, and emergency responders would be able to get through town faster and safer. Perhaps we all would have to drive a bit more slowly, but in a small town like Winona, this is a small price to pay.

The funds have been secured and would pay for resurfacing Broadway without using tax-payer funds. The City Council has already voted in favor of this project, but is voting again on it for some reason. I urge the City Council members and our new mayor to demonstrate that the safety of our citizens is your highest priority and vote in favor of this project.

Five years ago, I stood at my front window holding my infant son in my arms and realized that a person had been hit by a car so hard that she flew across the intersection to land in front of my house. Britney could have been one of my students at WSU, just trying to get home for the evening, when her life took a terrible turn. Today, I have two young sons and I can feel the fear in my heart as I write this. I don’t want this to happen to them, or anyone else. Broadway needs to be made safer and there is a great plan on the table to do so. Please vote for our safety.

 

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