The dozens of orange safety cones that now populate a stretch of Mission Boulevard between Highway 12 and Randall Lane are a welcome sight for some residents of this east Santa Rosa neighborhood, who have long complained about speed devils.
About a year ago, a young man was struck and killed by a vehicle as he crossed Mission Boulevard from the east side of the thoroughfare. But now, work is being done that could both slow traffic and make it safer to cross Mission.
The crosswalk is being moved to the south end of the “T” intersection of Mission and Randall and the entire southern section of Mission Boulevard is being “re-striped” into a two-lane road with bicycle lanes, similar to the configuration on the north end of the roadway.
“People are just going way too fast on that road. Hopefully that will help,” said Annette Yadon, who has lived in the neighborhood for seven years with her two children and one grandson.
Yadon sometimes avoids driving onto Mission from the Randall Lane intersection because speeding traffic makes it too dangerous. She takes an alternate route via Prospect Avenue and Sherbrook Drive, she said.
Eleven months ago, a fatal traffic accident spurred some neighborhood residents to call for more safety measures.
On Oct. 21, Alejandro Torres, 24, stepped into the crosswalk and was hit by a passing car. He was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with head injuries and died the following morning.
After his death, Alejandro Sotres, a pastor at The Bridge Community Church in Sebastopol, began collecting signatures on a petition aimed at encouraging city officials to make the crosswalk safer. Yadon said she was among those who signed the petition.
In February, Sotres and the newly formed Mission Boulevard Residents Association met with a supervising engineer for the city's traffic engineering division to discuss neighbors' concerns. The city informed residents it intended to make changes to the southern end of Mission that would improve safety.