WE’VE seen or read about unfortunate auto-pedestrian incidents in our islands too many times. Many of which may be avoidable with proper medians or crosswalks. Here at home, we have medians on some of our streets, but most of them are not properly marked or maintained, making it equally dangerous to both pedestrians and motorists. It's enough of a challenge crossing the street in broad daylight. Imagine the dangers of doing so at night with poor lighting and unmarked medians.
Medians should be highly visible — raised, painted a bright, reflective yellow, and well lit. It signals drivers to slow down and gives them definitive markers between oncoming lanes.
An article published by the Federal Highway Administration reported that there is a 46% drop in pedestrian accidents on roads with medians, pedestrian crossings, and marked crosswalks. That means almost half of the accidents can be avoided. Medians have also been found to reduce vehicle crashes by 15%.
In addition to increasing safety, medians also have aesthetic benefits and provide opportunities for landscaping, much like the colorful blooming flowers planted at the Atkins Kroll intersection.
The Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers has been proposing initiatives that would transform our islands into world-class destinations. A big part of that goal includes making our roads and facilities safer for residents and tourists. Properly marked and maintained medians are essential elements of the Complete Streets program. They will improve safety on our streets and provide better access — by foot, bike, or vehicle — to local businesses and sites.
To support the Complete Streets program, the GCEA is proud to announce the launch of its Adopt-A-Median program and is calling on companies, volunteer groups, and other members of the community to help paint medians in our villages. If you’re wondering if this is the right program for you, take a look out your office window. Is there a median that is in desperate need of a coat of paint? When you take your child to school, is there a median or curbs that could use a refresh?
With help of a few friends and a few buckets of paint supplied by the GCEA, you could get the job done within hours. A small commitment can bring great fulfillment and noticeable change. Our community has come together to make our villages better places to live by repairing public restrooms, improving park facilities, and painting basketball courts. We can do it again. Together, We Can adopt medians and help save lives.
Alex BK Youn is the president of AC Pacific LLC-I Love Saipan Stores, the largest retail and gift store operator in Saipan. As a major stakeholder in the industry, he serves as a member of the Tourism Infrastructure Reboot Committee for the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers. As an advisory council for Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, the GCEA’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the Marianas for all residents.