On June 22, the City of Edmond approved traffic changes in downtown Edmond which include lowering the speed limit from 25 mph to 20 mph and prohibiting right turns at red lights.
Those changes impacted the following streets and intersections:
- Littler Avenue between Second Street & Thatcher Street
- Broadway between Second Street & Thatcher Street
- Santa Fe Drive between Edmond Road and Hurd Street
- Victory Road between Edwards Street and Thatcher Street
- Second Street between Fretz Avenue and Santa Fe Drive
- First Street between Fretz Avenue and Boulevard
- Main Street between Fretz Avenue and Boulevard
- Hurd Street between Fretz Avenue and Boulevard
- Campbell Street between the Railroad Tracks and Boulevard
- Edwards Street between the Railroad Tracks and Boulevard
- Ayers Street between Broadway and Boulevard
- Thatcher Street between the Railroad Tracks and Boulevard
“These changes are the first step to enhance safety for pedestrians and those utilizing alternative modes of transportation,” the City’s press release stated. “City staff and officials continue to look at additional longer-term changes to enhance safety for all modes of transportation in downtown Edmond.”
This news has caused mixed reactions from Edmond residents and patrons, garnering more than 150 comments on the City of Edmond Facebook post announcing this change – significantly more comments than any other recent post. Some supporters shared stories of people they knew who were hit or nearly hit by drivers. Others were upset with the change citing that the City was looking for more ways to ticket and make back money after being impacted economically by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One person who supports this change is Jill Castilla, president and vice chairman of Citizens Bank, located on E. 1st St. Last year, Castilla was walking from her office to her car during 5 p.m. rush hour traffic. She says she was keeping a watchful eye as traffic was backed up and impeding the intersection. She eventually had the right-of-way and began to cross the intersection after the light turned red, but a car sped up to try to make the light, and Castilla was struck by the motorist.
The team at Citizens Bank saw the accident occur and rushed to her side assisting with calling an ambulance. She credits the backpack she was wearing with protecting her head from injury, but she suffered a broken hand as a result of the motorist’s inattention.
“Following my accident, I was surprised at how many people reached out to me to offer their shared story of near misses in downtown Edmond,” said Castilla. “If anything, I hope my moment of trial can be that [catalyst] for real change that can speak for many, many Edmond residents who love downtown and want to continue to see it safely grow as a destination for community activities and small businesses.”
While the City alludes in the press release to more forthcoming changes, they have yet to make public announcements as to what those steps will entail. As downtown Edmond has attracted an influx of new businesses and restaurants like the Edmond Railyard, Frenzy Brewing Company and many new businesses slated to open in the coming month, traffic – both on foot and on wheel – will increase as locals explore the new spaces it has to offer.
“I appreciate the recent changes the city made; at the same time, substantially more needs to be done as neither action would have prevented my accident,” said Castilla. “We need additional policies that elevate positive pedestrian experiences downtown, such as crosswalks that would impede speed and signage that would deliver awareness earlier on that they will soon be approaching a pedestrian walking center.”
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About Susan Hoover
By day, Susan Hoover is a bridgebuilder for students at Oklahoma Christian University, her alma mater, overseeing the Calling and Career Office: Day Six. In this role, Susan walks alongside prospective students, current students and alumni to help them discover their gifts, launch a career, and give them the tools to turn that dream into a reality. By night, she wrangles a toddler, watches too much tv, and tackles the occasional DIY project.
Previously, Susan worked in communications for a statewide nonprofit, a PR agency with cross-country clientele, and a Level I trauma hospital. After spending some time in the Dallas area, Susan and her native Edmondite husband, Taylor, returned to Edmond with their daughter, Avery. Though a native Kansan, Edmond has always felt like home.