A 13-year-old girl suffered minor injuries when she was hit by a car early Wednesday in a West College Avenue crosswalk at the same intersection where a Santa Rosa High School sophomore was struck and killed last year, police said.
A transit bus already had stopped to allow the girl to pass at Link Lane on Wednesday when the driver of a second car entered the crosswalk, knocking her down, Santa Rosa Police said.
The 6:44 a.m. accident was a close call and underscores what neighbors of the area claim has been a long-time problem. And it is similar to other tragic crosswalk incidents, when one car stops but another drives on through an intersection.
The Link Lane crosswalk is at a T-intersection west of North Dutton Avenue. It crosses four lanes of usually heavy traffic, as well as a left-turn lane.
A fluorescent green pedestrian sign and pavement striping are the only indicators of a pedestrian crossing.
"It's a dangerous place," said Patricia Bowers, who has lived near the intersection for 22 years and seen traffic volume swell on College Avenue.
Bowers said she doesn't use the crosswalk, and said that it's often difficult as a motorist to pull out of Link Lane onto College Avenue.
Santa Rosa city officials said earlier this year they hoped to have a three-way signal light installed at the intersection by next summer.
"We're trying to do better than that, but we can pretty well guarantee getting it done next summer," Public Works Director Rick Moshier said Wednesday.
The new signalized system would control traffic in all three directions and include a pedestrian-activated walk light, Moshier said.
City officials approved funding for the estimated $350,000 signal in the wake of the Jan. 27, 2010 death of nearby resident Michelle Cordova, 15.
Cordova was in the crosswalk a few steps behind her cousin when she was struck and killed by an oncoming car.
Heidi Washburn, a resident, said she was nearby when the girl, who lived in her apartment complex, was hit. "I watched her die on the sidewalk," Washburn said Wednesday.
She said she doesn't allow her children, ages 14 and 16, to use the crosswalk, Washburn said.
The long, straight stretch of College Avenue contributes to the hazard. "This street is horrendous," she said. "People drive on the street like it's a freeway."
The city should put crosswalk safety improvements "at the top of the list," she said.
At least one other teen has been struck in the same crosswalk. Jose Manuel Nunes-Flores, 16, suffered minor injuries when he was hit Feb. 17, 2011, police said.
Wednesday, the 13-year-old was running southbound in the crosswalk when the eastbound bus stopped in the southern-most lane to let her pass, police Sgt. Lance Badger said.
The driver of a second eastbound car in an adjacent lane, Karen Reid, 53, failed to stop, saying she didn't see the girl, Badger said. The investigation is ongoing, police said.<NO1><NO>
All three incidents have occurred in dusky light, at twilight or before sun-up.
The girl hurt Wednesday was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, treated and then released, Badger said.
Last month 4-year-old Christopher Rowe was struck and killed while crossing West Ninth Street at Rockwell Place. One car had stopped to let pedestrians cross, but another vehicle sped through the intersection hitting the child, who was crossing with his mother and siblings.