Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pedestrian's death raises questions

BY COLBY FRAZIER
DAILY SOUND STAFF WRITER

A 90-year-old woman who was hit by a car last Thursday while walking across Foothill Road succumbed to her injuries just before noon yesterday at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
The woman, Irene Wilton of Santa Barbara, suffered a number of injuries, including a fractured left clavicle, fractured ribs, fractured left fibula and tibia, and internal injuries, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said shortly after the accident.

The spokesman said Wilton was crossing Foothill Road at Cieneguitas Road just before 4 p.m. when a Honda Accord struck her. Wilton was in the crosswalk when she was hit. Investigators said alcohol was not a factor.
Because the investigation is ongoing, CHP Officer Dan Barba said he did not yet know if the 84-year-old driver would be cited or charged with a crime.
The most recent incident is the latest in a string of close calls involving pedestrians and vehicles in the intersection, according to residents who live nearby.
Since last Thursday, nearly 300 people have signed an online petition demanding a traffic light be installed at the intersection, which was the site of another fatal collision three years ago, according to the Web site.
“There are numerous daily near misses at this intersection which is near two schools, a city and school bus stop and contains a five lane pedestrian crosswalk with inadequate caution markings,” according to the petition.
A Santa Barbara County news release sent to media yesterday said the county Public Works Department has secured permits to place traffic lights at the intersection and bidding for the project is expected to begin later this month. Construction on the intersection could commence in September.
Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, whose district includes this stretch of Foothill Road, said she has had her eye on fixing the intersection for several months and is confident the project will go through on schedule.
Traffic signals at the intersection were a condition of approval for a nearby development, which is being constructed by Bermant Development, according to the county. That company is in charge of redesigning the intersection.
The project is expected to cost $350,000, $120,000 of which will be paid for by Caltrans. The remainder will be funded through the county’s Goleta Transportation Improvement Plan.
Many who have signed the petition left comments on the petition site about their experiences at what many call a “treacherous” intersection. Some said a traffic signal will not do enough to combat the danger and that other measures, such as speed bumps and narrowing the road, need to be considered.
Ron Lopez, a petition signer who has lived in the neighborhood for 19 years, said he has nearly been hit while trying to cross Cieneguitas more times than he can remember.
“What is also deplorable is that I never see any local traffic enforcement agency monitoring the speed limit in the general area, mostly at this intersection,” Lopez wrote.
Patricia Ferguson, who also signed the petition, said she doesn't allow her two children to walk to nearby La Colina Junior High because of the intersection.
“We never attempt to make a left turn onto Foothill because it is too dangerous,” she wrote. “We make a right turn and then a U-turn at the next opportunity. It is shameful that this situation has not been addressed yet after all these years of terrible accidents and community requests for a stoplight.”
The petition site is www.thepetitionsitecom/1/SafeCrossing.

1 comment:

Paul said...

The petition URL has a typo (I believe it is case sensitive), the direct link should be http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/SafeCrossing