Santa Rosa Plaza adds new warnings about parking garage gates
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012 at 2:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 19, 2012 at 2:18 p.m.
New warnings have been painted across the pavement at exits and entries to the downtown Santa Rosa Plaza parking structure after several pedestrians were injured by the automated gates.
Two broad yellow stripes bearing the words “No pedestrian access” were added Friday morning to each driveway in an apparent effort to ensure no one else gets hurt.
Paper fliers cautioning pedestrians to beware the gate arms also have been posted in greater abundance so they are visible from multiple directions.
Mall officials were unavailable to discuss the matter early Friday afternoon or to say if any more changes were planned.
At least four people have been struck over an eight-week period by the automated gates, which were installed when the mall shifted to paid parking in August.
The driveways were often used by pedestrians before the gates were in place, and two women subsequently injured said they weren't even aware of the arms, which were lifted to let vehicles pass.
A Petaluma woman who was injured Monday night, Pat Goddard Sirna, said she has been diagnosed with a concussion caused by the gate, which came down across the crown of her head. She said she remained nauseous, unsteady and unable to go out Friday.
“I've been in bed since Monday,” she said. “It's difficult to walk and concentrate.”
Sirna said she was hit as she walked across an entrance near the west side of the mall after waiting for a car to cross. She said she never even saw the elevated arm.
A Santa Rosa woman, Brenda Russell, was hit walking through a gate outside Macy's on Sept. 14 and suffered a black eye.
A third woman was struck Sept. 22, according to Santa Rosa Fire Department records. She remains in treatment for neck issues related to the incident, said her physician, Dr. James Trapnell.
A fourth woman, Kristin Colgrove, of Santa Rosa, said she was struck by the gate Aug. 23 while riding her scooter into the parking garage.
Colgrove said she pushed the button at the mechanized gate to receive her parking voucher and trigger the gate to rise. But as she passed through, the mechanical arm crashed back down across her her nose and her chest, nearly knocking her off her scooter, she said.
The mechanical arm broke from the impact, Colgrove said.
Sirna, a registered nurse, wondered if the new signs and striping at the gates will protect shoppers. Vehicles approaching the gates could end up stopping over the newly painted warnings, preventing pedestrians from seeing them, she said.
“I'm not going to have any lawsuit,” Sirna said. “I just want to see something change.”
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