Yesterday I asked the gentle readers of this blog for some help and they responded. It was sad news that three pedestrians were struck on Santa Monica Blvd. between Gower and Bronson (from what I witnessed of the street closure, I’m guessing it was at about Tamarind and Santa Monica.).
Eliza provided this information from the wire services:
A 10-year-old girl died at a hospital today after being struck by a car as she and a friend tried to cross a Hollywood street, a police officer said. Her companion, a 9-year-old girl, remained in critical condition, Officer Ursula Guillory said. Guillory said the driver was being held for manslaughter. Paramedics were called to the scene in the 5800 block of Santa Monica Boulevard about 7:45 a.m., said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department. A third person suffered minor injuries, Humphrey said.
Sadly, she’s not the first person to be hurt on this stretch of street and unless something is done, she won’t be the last.
click for 225K image
Those of you who drive Santa Monica Blvd. regularly know full well that there are no crosswalks, signals or even full two way intersections between Van Ness and Gower – a stretch of road that is .37 miles long. In the middle of that stretch is a strip mall that contains (among other things) an Autozone, Lucy’s Laundromat, a bakery and what I think is a WIC office or clinic. Add to that the Santa Monica Blvd. Community Charter School on the corner of Santa Monica and Van Ness. But you probably also know that there are people dashing across the street there all the time.
The only change I saw this morning was that eastbound traffic had a speed alert machine that reminded drivers that the speed limit is 35 MPH and showed their current speed.
What this stretch of road needs is a true crosswalk. For years that has been a pedestrian sign that flashes – but it is not a true crosswalk (the sign is merely a guy walking – a rather vague notification that there may be people somewhere in the street). It’s not fair to pedestrians to have to walk a full third of a mile to get to something that is only a scant 50 feet in front of them. Would you go so far out of your way in the rain with your child in a stroller? Most people don’t, I see them day after day – running across the street or standing the center lane waiting for traffic to clear.
Thanks to Will pointing out the ever-so-helpful terraserver, I’ve made up a little map. (Okay, it’s a BIG map if you click on it.) It clearly shows that there is a huge expanse of road with no safe intersection for pedestrians to cross. What I’d really like, and maybe some of you have seen these, are “in pavement crosswalk warning lights” so not only is there a painted crosswalk on the pavement and signs, but also pedestrian activated lights that blink on the street to alert drivers that someone is in the crosswalk (because the street is two lanes each way with a middle lane, sometimes it can be hard to see around larger SUVs to see that they’re yielding to a pedestrian or a car trying to turn left).
As near as I can figure, the way to get something done is to contact the city. I went on the ever-friendly lacity.org and did a “my neighborhood” search. So, I’m going to write a letter to the Hollywood-Wilshire Transportation District Office. I hope if you have a few moments to dash something off, you’ll join me:
Hollywood-Wilshire Transportation District Office
7551 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Contact: Brian Gallagher
Perhaps one of our city council friends can provide an email contact for us.