Traffic is a top Meridian challenge, officials say. Here’s the change one parent wants to see
What is one of Meridian’s biggest challenges? Traffic, according to at least two elected officials.
The Statesman previously reported that Council Member Luke Cavener and newly elected member John Overton said the city’s growth has put a strain on its roads. Former longtime Mayor Tammy de Weerd also previously told the Statesman that traffic is the greatest challenge Meridian residents face.
City spokesperson Kelsey Winnett told the Statesman there were 1,567 crashes in 2022, a slight decline from 1,630 in 2021.
And yet, there were almost as many pedestrian-involved incidents in 2022 as there were in 2021.
Winnett said data from the Meridian Police Department shows there have been 35 pedestrian-involved crashes in 2022, just one more than in 2021. The data does not reflect the month of December because reports are still being processed, she said.
The data also revealed a list of the top five major roads with the most reported accidents. The list is in order from most to least crashes.
Parent of teen killed on the way to Meridian High wants change
Of the pedestrian-involved incidents in Meridian, 34 of those resulted in injuries, and one death, throughout 2022, Winnett said.
The pedestrian death took place Nov. 2, when Terry Binder, a 16-year-old Meridian High School student on his way to school, was struck by a pickup truck at North Ten Mile Road and West Pine Avenue.
Joshua Binder, Terry Binder’s father, told the Statesman in a message that his family has lived in Meridian since 2013 and has seen traffic increase. He said he is frustrated that students running late for class have to compete with drivers rushing to work. Terry, he said, decided to walk to school that day because he was running late.
“Almost 3-4 days a week we had phone notifications that the buses were 10-25 min late,” he said. “At that point Terry had already left the bus stop thinking he missed the bus and walked to school.”
Binder said his son walked to school to avoid getting detention for tardiness. He died less than one mile from his high school.
“I walk to where Terry’s life was taken almost daily,” he said. “The crosswalk at Pine and Ten Mile doesn’t ever turn for a walk signal. I hit the button and get skipped multiple times. It gets to the point where I cross without a signal. The school zone ends a half block from where Terry was killed.”
Binder said he would like to see the school zone expand to Pine Avenue because it is a main road to the high school. Binder said he would also like to see a skywalk built for pedestrians to cross safely.
In December, the Binder family agreed to sponsor the Meridian Arts Commission to wrap a utilities box at Pine Avenue and Ten Mile Road in a piece of their son’s artwork.
“He was a straight A student who loved theater and drama,” he said of his son. “He loved to draw and play so many instruments. He was a man well beyond his years. He was the most amazing person I have ever met.”