With summer here, let’s drive extra safely and obey the signs

The busy summer season is upon our Island.


The busy summer season is upon our Island.

I’d like to extend a big “thank you” to Vashon Thriftway owner Norm Mathews for making the Vashon Highway and Bank Road intersection a little safer. Have you noticed his recent installation of a “right turn only” sign at the shopping plaza’s west exit at Vashon Highway? It’s been great. It’s kept traffic efficiently moving south on Vashon Highway and eliminated the near-misses from those who once turned left from the lot to head south on the highway. If you are still turning left, please break your “unsafe” habit. Everybody wins.

The influx of summer foot traffic and touring cars reminds me that there are some simple ways that each of us, as Island drivers, pedestrians and businesses, can nudge this safety along.

Take an “early” left heading into town. Especially during evening hours, when drivers return from the north end, rather than making a left into Thriftway plaza on Vashon Highway, drivers can shave time getting to the market by turning left at the Keller Williams-Subway cross-street and wrapping around the back of the complex to access the east entrance. Why lag through the stop sign line on Vashon Highway if you don’t have to?

Pedestri-ans, use the crosswalks.Of course that’s not us (wink, wink)! Drivers are much more aware of pedestrians in crosswalks and can better predict the need to slow down when pedestrians are present at crosswalks rather than lurching out into the road in random locations.

Park in designated areas. You wouldn’t want someone parking in your driveway at home only to head to your neighbor’s house, would you? Parking areas such as the one at Thriftway Center are intended for businesses in that center only. And by street parking when they’re able, shoppers heading for a “town crawl” free up space for those who need to park directly where they shop — banks, book stores, grocery stores, music stores, hardware stores, etc. Commuters, please park in designated lots only. Remember the “your driveway” story.

Pass on illegal passing. Drivers who cross the double yellow lines or use the shoulder for the sake of leapfrogging slower traffic tempt the fates, putting into jeopardy their own lives and those of others. It’s not worth the risk, and it’s illegal.

Thanks again to Norm for getting the conversation started with his gesture in the interest of safety. Let’s all pitch in and do what we can to enjoy a safe, smooth summer.

­— Bettie Edwards, a longtime Islander, owns

The Little House.