Child Safety Concerns about Ditch on N. 128th St.

Why There is Concern

A large open ditch on the south side of N. 128th St. about midway between Meridian Ave. N. and Corliss Ave. N. has a heavy flow of water during heavy rain. The ditch is adjacent to a sidewalk and there is risk that a small child could fall into the water and drown, especially if trapped by the pressure of the water against the outflow culvert. The ditch is something like three or four feet deep (about a meter). My recommendation is to install a railing alongside the sidewalk where it is next to the ditch.

Photo of big ditch on N. 128th St.
This view looks east, with a tiny bit of N. 128th St. visible in the extreme upper left corner of the photo. An asphalt sidewalk is visible alongside the left side of the ditch, and the sidewalk is right next to the street. The flow of water (sorry, photo was taken on a dry day!) is away from the camera (east). Water enters out of the culvert in the foreground and flows into another culvert at the far end of the ditch, obscured by brush in this photo. During heavy rains, the water can run more than a foot deep and swiftly. My fear is that a toddler on the sidewalk could toddle over the edge and down into the water, then get swept up against the inlet to the culvert at the far end. The force of the swiftly flowing water could trap the child against the entrance to the culvert, under water, and she or he could drown. An older child or adult would probably have the size, strength, and skill to keep above the water and climb out, with probably no harm done beyond sogginess, shivering, and embarrassment.

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This page was last updated on 20 May 2018.

©2013 Robert M. Fleming Jr.

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