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Cloverdale unveils crosswalk improvements

  • After buying cookies at the Cloverdale Market, Miguel Mendez and his son Alejandro, 3, use the crosswalk with newly installed flashing lights, to cross South Cloverdale Boulevard at the corner Healdsburg Avenue in Cloverdale, Calif., on January 3, 2014. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

Cloverdale on Friday got a new flashing crosswalk at a dangerous intersection that was the scene of death and injury last year.

The LightGuard system, with road-embedded, flashing amber lights on each side of the crosswalk, is touted as one of the most effective systems for getting motorists to notice pedestrians and stop.

"This is a big deal for us," said Mayor Carol Russell as she watched the $60,000 crosswalk activated. "I'm getting good feedback from people who say it's great."

Cloverdale Crosswalk Safety Improvements

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"Here comes a kid on a bike now," said City Manager Paul Cayler as he watched the boy trigger the in-road flashing lights. Cars stopped as the child safely crossed the wide swath of South Cloverdale Boulevard.

The small cluster of Cloverdale officials and engineers gathered Friday in the bright afternoon sunshine and expressed their satisfaction. But the real difference will be apparent at night.

That's when the most serious incidents, including a fatality, occurred at the crosswalk, located at Healdsburg Avenue, just south of the Citrus Fairgrounds.

After dark on July 7, Maria Ponce, 68, of Cloverdale was struck and fatally injured in the crosswalk.

The 83-year-old driver said he didn't see her, although police said he was not wearing required corrective lenses.

Then on Halloween night, two cousins aged 12 and 13 were struck by a pickup driver who said he didn't see them. One of the boys spent weeks in the hospital as the result of his badly broken legs and surgeries.

The incidents generated a strong outcry from the family of Ponce and other members of the community, who begged the City Council to put in more lighting and safety measures.


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