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PD Editorial: Preventing the next crosswalk catastrophe

  • Five people have been hit by cars while crossing this Cloverdale intersection this year. (CONNER JAY / The Press Democrat)

It takes more than money to make a crosswalk safe.

But that isn't justification for inaction, especially after multiple accidents have pinpointed a dangerous crossing.

This time — two words that speak volumes — the location is in Cloverdale, South Cloverdale Boulevard and Healdsburg Avenue, to be precise. Cloverdale police have counted five serious accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists in the same crosswalk this year. Make that so far this year.

The most recent came on Halloween, when two boys crossing the street were struck by a small pickup truck. The most serious was this summer, when Maria Ponce was hit by a car and killed.

Her family pressed the city to install more lights or other safety features.

“Don't put a price tag on someone's head,” daughter Delia Ponce told the City Council at a meeting that drew more than 60 people in July. “Please address that, so no one else is taken from someone they love.”

This week, more than 100 people jammed into City Hall with another message.

“You guys waited too long,” said Pedro Andrade, whose brother suffered severe leg injuries on Halloween. His cousin was hurt, too.

In the days after Ponce's death, Cloverdale police cited a handful of drivers for failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. No doubt, officers will return.

This time, it appears the city will act.

On Monday, council members rejected a proposal to install a four-way stop at the intersection. But a subcommittee subsequently recommended installation of flashing lights in the crosswalk at a cost of about $55,000.

We hope the lights are approved by the full council and put in place before anyone else is hurt or killed.

Cloverdale isn't the only city that has experienced crosswalk safety issues. In Santa Rosa, pedestrian safety was identified as a serious concern in 1991. That year, 39 pedestrians were struck on city streets, and six of them died.

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