Editor’s note — This letter was originally written to Wayne Bowman, a member of the gate committee at the Highland County Fair, before the author shared it with The Times-Gazette.
This letter is a follow-up to our discussion at the yellow fair gate on Saturday morning, Sept. 11. That morning you had stopped at the gate where I was working as an attendant. You were reinforcing the need to check admission status of everyone driving through the gate. While you were there, we also engaged in a conversation regarding the pedestrian traffic coming through the gate concurrently with the two-way vehicle traffic that was using the gate.
During the week of the fair I volunteered to staff the yellow gate all seven days and thus spent 34 hours at that location. As I recounted to you and two other fair board members who joined us, I witnessed multiple situations of high risk to pedestrian safety. My main concern was with pedestrians walking over the hill on John Street and having to walk nearly in the center of the street due to the cars parked along the fairground fence. I witnessed numerous instances of young children and toddlers being forced to walk in the open street while cars went left of center to avoid them.
Likewise, I witnessed fair goers walking down John Street toward the general admission parking lot who were walking and even pushing baby strollers in the middle of the street on the curve. They could not be seen until a vehicle actually rounded the curve. This is an extremely dangerous situation that the fair board and city of Hillsboro must act in concert to alleviate.
Your suggestions regarding the conversion of the gate to an entrance only for vehicles is certainly a step in the right direction. However, if the former general admission gate at the foot of John Street is going to remain closed, and pedestrian traffic is to continue to be directed to the yellow gate, then the parking along the fairground fence on John Street simply must be stopped before a tragedy occurs.
I would happily discuss the matter further with you or other members of the fair board.