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Flathead 4H group uses math skills to make Coram crosswalk safer

Posted: 4:26 PM, Jul 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-16 18:27:43-04

CORAM – A Flathead 4-H club is using math and statistic skills to make a dangerous Coram crosswalk safer.

The group of middle and high school students is looking for a safer solution for a crosswalk that’s located on US Highway 2 in Coram at the top of a busy hill.

Mirrer Bain, a member of the  Glacier View 4-H Club in Coram says the crosswalk is poorly labeled which makes it difficult for cars to see pedestrians crossing the street.

“It isn’t that great of a crosswalk because it’s up a hill and around a corner. You can’t really see the crosswalk beginning sign because it’s behind a bush,” explained Bain.

Coram resident — and the leader of this 4H program — KelleySue Bain told MTN News that she had no idea the crosswalk existed the first two years she lived in town.

“We didn’t even know there was a crosswalk for probably two years and then once we saw it we realized we can’t stop in time to stop if there (are) people. It’s just too dangerous,” KelleySue Bain said.

She explained that the group is using math and statistic skills to gather data on the dangerous crosswalk.

The group is not only using hard skills — they’re also using soft skills by approaching strangers with crosswalk survey questions.

“They’re taking measurements of where the signs are and how many people cross, the speeds they’re going and doing a survey. We’re going to be using statistics,” KelleySue Bain said

The group found that 600 cars zoom through the Coram crosswalk at 60 mph and the people they talked reported that cars almost hit them as they attempt to cross the busy road.

With this research, 4-H member Annie Gross says the group hopes to raise enough money through their GoFundMe campaign and research to have a blinking crosswalk sign installed.

“Most of the people that we’ve interviewed have said that we should get a light and that’s what our club is ultimately saving up for, is one of those flashing lights that you may see in Whitefish or Columbia Falls,” explained Gross.

The 4-H club is asking for the community’s help with their research.

The best thing you can do to help is to go to the crosswalk, put on the reflective vest that’s located in the bucket, grab a flag, look both ways and cross the street waving the flag. This helps the group collect data on the cross walker’s experience.

It will take the group a couple of years of this kind of research before they can present their data.

The 4-H group is going to MSU in August to work on narrowing down the best solution for a safer crosswalk.

Reporting by Maren Siu for MTN News