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Petition may prompt safety study of Santa Rosa crosswalk where child killed

  • Armando Jimenez, 13, and his sister, Ashley Jimenez, 7, stop to look at the memorial site for 4-year-old Christopher "Buddy" Rowe, while Armando walks Ashley home from Lincoln Elementary School, in Santa Rosa, on Tuesday, August 23, 2011. Rowe was struck by a vehicle while crossing West Ninth Street, at Rockwell Place, on Thursday, August 18, and died Friday.

After the bell rang Tuesday afternoon at Lincoln Elementary school in Santa Rosa, children streamed outside. They hopped into parents' cars or walked hand-in-hand in a crosswalk beneath flashing pedestrian lights and under the watchful eye of a crossing guard.

About 300 feet down the block, an ice cream vendor waited with his cart at the West Ninth Street crosswalk where five days <NO1><NO>earlier a four-year-old boy was struck and killed.

Few ventured into the crosswalk Tuesday and no one bought ice cream. However a group of fifth graders gathered at a make-shift memorial of balloons, flowers and stuffed animals placed at the base of a street sign in honor of Christopher "Buddy" Rowe.

"We don't want more people to get hurt," said Luis Santacruz, 12, a Lincoln Elementary School fifth grader. "Cars don't respect us," said his classmate, Luis Huesca, 11.

Neighborhood children such as Santacruz and Huesca said they would join a group of high school students gathering signatures to ask the city to install pedestrian lights or a stop sign.

The boys said they and their friends don't feel safe crossing the four-lane street.

The crosswalk at Rockwell Place connects a neighborhood of apartments with Jacobs Park and the school. It is marked with the yellow "zebra" striping used near schools throughout California, said Rob Sprinkle, traffic engineer for the city.

The crosswalk is what traffic engineers call an "uncontrolled approach," indicating an absence of traffic lights, crossing lights or stop signs.

The city hasn't received complaints about the crossing in the past, Sprinkle said. However if residents do gather signatures, that would prompt the city to take another look.

"If we got a petition for a stop sign, we'd do a study to see if the location warrants that kind of traffic control," he said.


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