There wasn’t a lot on the Public Safety Committee’s agenda last night. After going through a list of routine items, there was time available for the residents of Crystal Towers to speak. Three residents of Crystal Towers took to the people’s microphone last night and asked the City to address unsafe intersections at and around Crystal Towers.
Shockingly, there aren’t adequate safety measures in place at Sixth and Polar, in front of Crystal Towers. The 200-unit, 100 percent disability building, should have one of the safest intersections in the city at its doorstep. The fact that it doesn’t speaks volumes about how our city and no doubt, the majority of cities in America work. The prerogatives of the rich get addressed, while the needs of the poor and Black go largely unnoticed until a tragedy occurs.
Such a tragedy occurred in late September when my wheelchair-bound friend, D.D. Watkins, was run over by an automobile while crossing Fifth and Spruce, in front of First Baptist Church. Ms. Watkins sustained a cracked pelvis, which required a prolonged hospital stay and recovery. She’s still experiencing pain from the accident. She just recently received a new electric wheelchair. D.D. has had to go several weeks without an electric wheelchair, a substantial hardship for a woman who lost her hands and feet years ago due to medical complications associated with a previous automobile accident.
But D.D. Watkins is not one to complain. She’s an inspiring survivor with a talent for speaking truth to power. Ms. Watkins and the other two Crystal Towers residents who spoke at last night’s Public Safety meeting made some excellent points. It’s unacceptable that the crosswalk safety measures that are in place on Fourth Street and the Innovation Quarter have not been extended to 635 W. Sixth Street. At a minimum, Poplar Street should have improved safety measures at its intersection with Fifth Street and Sixth Street. Currently, there isn’t a safe way for Crystal Towers residents to walk to the Central Library on Fifth or HAWS’ building on Fourth.
Dec 9, 2019, Public Safety Meeting, Crystal Towers residents begin commenting at the 26:35 minute mark.
I’m at this week’s Public Safety meeting-Crystal Towers’ residents plan on telling the committee that the intersections around Crystal Towers are unsafe. With 200 disabled residents at 635 W. Sixth St, the intersections adjacent to Crystal Towers should be the safest in the city! pic.twitter.com/vR0xN7LFXn
— Winston Watchman (@WinstonWatchman) December 9, 2019