Dark skies: great for star gazing, not so great for pedestrians | ParkRecord.com

Dark skies: great for star gazing, not so great for pedestrians

As mountain residents and visitors plunge into the shortest days of the year, it is important for both drivers and pedestrians to be hyper vigilant.

Park City and surrounding neighborhoods are typically protective of their night skies and rightfully so. But we also need to be cognizant of the fact that many local neighborhoods do not have sidewalks, and when there is inclement weather, pedestrians may be forced into traffic to avoid snowbanks and other obstacles.

Park City has made strides in marking crosswalks and lighting some of its more heavily traveled pathways. But as traffic continues to increase and more emphasis is placed on public transit, the risk of auto/pedestrian accidents is bound to increase.

Christmas lights can be a nice antidote for holiday season darkness. But the jury is out on the new ultra-bright LED displays which can make it even more difficult to discern see a lone employee walking home from her shift late at night.

Pedestrians, too, must take some responsibility for making themselves as visible as possible. Clothing manufacturers have introduced a variety of light-reflecting fabrics, including parkas. Or many gear shops now carry more convenient and transferable options: LEDS that clip on to parkas and backpacks or illuminated arm bands that blink and make it clear that a person is traveling beside the roadway.

Park City has not been immune from pedestrian fatalities there have only been a few, but they have been devastating to the families of the victims and to the drivers who inadvertently caused their deaths.

This is a season to celebrate and we want to help ensure it is not marred by a tragic accidents. We want our dark skies, and to be able to stroll around town and enjoy the stars. It just means everyone has to take extra measures to look out for one another.

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