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Don Kostelec @KostelecPlan
, 7 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
In 2007, as an employee of ACHD and under oath in a lawsuit between the City of Boise and ACHD, I defended the widening and design of Ustick Rd. In 2014, 13-year old Olivia Schnacker died after being hit by a motorist while she crossed Ustick, a couple years after it was widened. Picture of Olivia.
I’m rarely in that part of Boise since I moved back. I moved away in 2008, in part due to that lawsuit, what I defended, and what I felt was a departure by my employer from my set of values in being a transportation planner and project manager. Picture of Ustick Road with cross honoring Olivia.
Olivia’s death hit me hard. I had already turned my passions toward protecting vulnerable road users. It made me more of an advocate for safety as we, despite having decent design features for pedestrians, still made vehicle LOS the priority. Close up of cross with teddy bears near the sidewalk.
I always take time to stop, reflect, and think of Olivia and her family when I’m in West Boise at the intersection of Jullion and Ustick where the crash occurred. Her siblings still have mental health challenges to this day after witnessing the crash. Ghost bike in memory of Olivia.
The driver was not charged. Claimed the sun made it hard to see. Police, despite testimony from the children that their oldest sibling Olivia saw the WALK signal, sided with the driver. Eyewitnesses said they didn’t see any brake lights.…
Olivia is why I fight so hard. At home I have a transcript of the deposition I gave in the lawsuit where I defended Ustick Road’s widening and design. I read it from time to time. It’s a reminder to me of how we can change and transform our perspective to save lives.
Here’s the cover of the deposition. Lots of defending a traffic model and “standards” (what I now know to be just guidance and nothing hard and fast) to justify the widening.
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