Recent accident prompts safety changes at Prada Marfa

VALENTINE – A two-vehicle accident on Highway 90 the evening of August 1 at the Prada Marfa tourist attraction near Valentine has prompted the need to increase safety on that stretch of road.

At approximately 7:08pm, a red 2016 Honda Civic had slowed down to turn onto the shoulder in front of the art installation as it was struck from behind by a maroon 2010 Infiniti QX56, according to DPS Trooper Robert Lyday. The cause of the crash was determined to be the driver’s inattention and failure to control speed. There were no injuries and all parties were released from the scene.

Already a traffic concern with reports by drivers having close calls with pedestrians standing on or crossing the highway to view the faux Prada store, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) earlier this summer installed pedestrian crossing signs at the attraction and reduced the speed zone there from 70mph to 65mph.

It evidently wasn’t enough and now, it seems, there is some confusion regarding safe parking responsibilities per the official TxDOT agreement made when the installation was approved to be built.

When asked what TxDOT is going to do in response to this most recent accident, David Luce, Alpine’s maintenance section supervisor, stated that they are going to erect no parking signs, which will make it officially illegal to park on the right-of-way, as well as attaching LED lights on the preexisting pedestrian crossing signs.

Ballroom Marfa and TxDOT are also discussing the possibility of adding rumble strips to the stretch of road.

The Assistant Director of Advancement at Ballroom, Peyton Gardner, told the Van Horn Advocate that he was sorry to hear about the accident but was glad no one was seriously injured and that Ballroom would be sending a letter of concern to TxDOT.

“We want to remind the public and visitors that this is not a joke and the highway is dangerous,” said Laura Copelin, director and curator of ballroom. “People have to use common sense out there.”