By Lynn Burton
Sopris Sun Staff Writer
Monday night, the Carbondale Bikes, Pedestrians and Trails Commission sent the issue of streetlights and public safety to the board of trustees, following an assault and attempted sexual assault on women after dark earlier in the summer.
The B/P/T recommendation reads, “That the Board of Trustees should address adequate lighting along priority corridors to be determined. The Board additionally recommends that additional lighting should be one piece of a more comprehensive approach to address citizen safety in town.”
The recommendation moved forward to the trustees 4-0, with Rob Morey, Darryl Fuller, Darren Broome and Tom Penzel approving. Commission members Kristofer Johnson and John Spiess were absent.
The trustees will discuss the B/P/T recommendation at its meeting on Sept. 20.
The Carbondale Board of Trustees sent the streetlight and public safety issue to the B/P/T for a recommendation in August, after several women attended a trustees meeting, asking for brighter streetlights and other actions to increase public safety – especially for women, some of whom negotiate streets after getting off RFTA buses at the park-and-ride lot at the intersection of Highway 133 and Village Road.
At Monday night’s meeting, several women laid out their concerns for pedestrian and bicycle safety after dark. Two of the women told the B/P/T members they didn’t like speaking up, but implied they were doing so to prevent other women from falling victims to sexual assaults and a attacks. (Note: The Sopris Sun is not using the women’s name, but will refer to them as Woman 1 and Woman 2).
“I’ll never walk through this town (after dark) alone,” said Woman 1, relating how she was raped and left for dead at Vetter Trail Park (at the east end of Sopris Avenue) in 1972. “Your (the B/P/T members) agenda is different from mine,” she said. “It changed my life.” Woman 1 alluded to town lighting ordinances, which are partially based on the international Night Sky Initiative, and said residents, can go 10 miles out of town and view the night sky. “(The town should) put citizen safety first.”
Woman 2 said she “didn’t want to be here either,” but related how she was attacked in August of 2002. “After that, I noticed how many dark areas there are (around town) … Where there is darkness, there is the potential for danger.”
Published in The Sopris Sun on September 15, 2016.