“It’s so unfortunate someone has to die,” Cummings said. “We’re very angry.”
Crashes should outweigh costs, Cummings said, which is why he has repeatedly asked the city not to allow Jackson Boulevard drivers stopped at red lights to take right-hand turns on to West Main Street. It’s dangerous for drivers, and it’s dangerous for pedestrians because drivers “have to drive like maniacs” to get in and out of businesses, he said. “There’s never a break in the traffic,” he said. “There are never any gaps, and it’s an accident waiting to happen.” City engineers have said the problem with not allowing people to turn is that it creates a bottleneck on the boulevard.
Bob Fischer, owner of Fischer Furniture, said traffic through the Gap has stabilized during the past five to 10 years because of the expansion of the Omaha corridor. The Fischer family business has been on Main since 1949 and at its current location since 1954. Omaha “is fast and wide and moves a great flow of traffic and has really helped traffic on West Main,” Fischer said. He still understands safety concerns. “You have to be on your guard and alert in the Gap,” he said. He would be opposed to construction of raised medians on West Main. “It would be a terrible thing, because our businesses need good access from both sides of the street,” he said. “I hope they don’t do that.”