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A councilman with a vision

July 10, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

Elkins City Councilman Van Broughton is known for putting a plan in motion and seeing it through to completion.

Example: the skateboard park in Glendale and the sidewalks near Kroger. Both of these projects benefited the community by increasing safety for its residents and visitors. Youths now have a place of their own to practice a favorite sport and it's equipped specifically for their needs. Pedestrians have a place to walk along 11th Street that isn't shared with motor traffic.

Both of those are excellent additions to the town, and this time the 2nd Ward councilman has implemented a project that just may save some lives. In April, Broughton came up with the idea to establish parking areas where drivers could stop to send or read text messages or make a cellphone call. A month later, City Council met him with approval.

Although a state law that bans texting while driving went into effect July 1, it wasn't that measure alone that prompted Broughton to produce a solution for those still needing information while on the road.

Broughton recently told The Inter-Mountain a certain set of statistics - 28 percent of all traffic accidents involve talking or texting on cellphones - made him decide an alternative was needed.

The parking areas marked with signage are along Davis Avenue near Fifth Street, at the corner of Wilson Hill and Robert E. Lee Avenue, and near the intersection of Second Street and Davis Avenue. More sites are in the works.

We think Broughton's idea is phenomenal, and others must, too. He said he's received calls from other cities within West Virginia and out of state seeking more information.

We may never know how many lives Broughton's plan will save or how many traffic accidents it will avoid, but we thank him just the same.



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