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 <i>so far this year</i>.
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.
Santa Rosa has made great strides since then, but the city still is dealing with trouble spots more than a decade later. The latest effort is new markings to alert drivers to crosswalks along a busy, four-lane stretch of Fourth Street east of downtown.
Just as money isn't an excuse for inaction, it's not enough for Santa Rosa or Cloverdale or any other community to paint streets, hang lights and post stop signs.
Most "accidents" can be avoided. Drivers need to pay attention to the road, not their cellphones, the radio buttons or their passengers. Remember, pedestrians have the right of way. And, believe it or not, those speed limit signs aren't just recommendations.
Pedestrians have a responsibility, too. Who hasn't had a close encounter with someone who stepped into the street without looking up from a conversation or an electronic device, or someone in dark clothes crossing in the middle of a block that has no streetlights?
Isn't a little caution better than another angry council meeting — and another roadside memorial?
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