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Better lighting will reduce tragic accidents

I feel this comment should have been written years ago, perhaps one more stone thrown to get someone's attention could have saved a life. The passing of Walter Nielsen from a motorcycle accident was a tragic event in itself and a tragic loss for the community of Guam.

I also live near Latte Heights like Nielsen, and Airport Road is the most convenient way to travel to most destinations in Guam. Like thousands of drivers, I take this route morning and night.

There is no sense blaming anyone or pointing fingers whose fault it is, but there are solutions that can be taken to avoid accidents of this nature and to ensure safety of all travelers by foot and by car.

I can count only a handful of hot spots in Guam that are heavily traveled and have very poor or unacceptable street lighting -- one being the Alageta Road where Nielsen lost his life when he hit a median divider. Another one is the intersection of Marine Corps Drive by Micronesia Mall and American Bakery. Factor in poor or no lighting and pouring rain and you have a deadly combination for any traveler.

Very poor intersection lighting and the conditions are one of the many (factors that cause) major accidents and take (people's) lives. I have driven on both intersections countless times and what is visually deceptive is the location of the median divider. The median divider blends with the road so well that an aging pair of eyes can easily mistake the median divider as not even there.

How can we improve these hot traffic spots in Guam?

•Install adequately bright street lighting.

•If we are really clever, install a lighting system powered by solar energy. Gather the energy during the day and use it at night. We have the technology today.

•Install reflectors on the sides of the medians by the intersections. Come on now, how much does each one really cost? If you happen to travel by Airport Road going to Latte Heights (Alageta Road) there is a new stretch of road with new reflectors and it would be highly improbable any driver would miss the visual markers. I say the Department of Public Works should install these markers.

•Involve students on the island to solve this issue. I am sure there are more solutions out there to improve our street lighting. Introduce this issue as a challenge and I am very certain of the pouring response from students around the island who can come up with a gadget or two.

•Use any of these solutions individually or collectively.

Sadly, most of the traffic-related fatalities in Guam are caused by very poor street lighting and any life lost to this condition is totally unacceptable and intolerable. Guam cannot afford to lose another loved one due to these conditions.

It is a disservice to every resident and tourist to ignore safety measures such as improving street intersection lighting. Improving visual identifications of median markers by installing reflectors should be top on the list.

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