Fountaingrove intersection where cyclist killed called dangerous

  • Fountaingrove Parkway, at Thomas Lake Harris Drive, where a cyclist was killed by a car on Tuesday morning, July 31, 2012.

Fountaingrove residents say that for the past seven years, they have been raising concerns with Santa Rosa about the safety of the intersection where a cyclist was killed Tuesday.

The fatality was the fourth at or near the turn into Thomas Lake Harris Drive on a steep stretch of Fountain Grove Parkway going back to 1995.

"It doesn't take long to live up here to realize this is a scary intersection," said Dewey Nelson, who has lived on Stonefield Lane, a block from the crash site, since 1999.

Ruben Hernandez, 37, a Modesto teacher, was riding westbound on the parkway about a mile from Mendocino Avenue when a pickup driver turned left in front of him onto Thomas Lake Harris Drive.

It is a curving, two-lane section of Fountain Grove Parkway without bike lanes in which vehicles and cyclists alike can easily reach the 40-mph speed limit.

The driver, Adam Bigham, 22, of Sebastopol, was on his way to a construction site when the collision occurred.

"When you make the left-hand turn, you cannot see the traffic coming. It is uphill and around a turn," Nelson said. "You have to dart across that intersection."

A stoplight will be installed within the next six months at the intersection, as part of the Fountaingrove Lodge retirement community project, which has just begun construction.

The stoplight is one of the traffic mitigation measures spelled out in the environmental impact report for the project when it was approved two years ago, city planner Erin Morris said.

A CHP database of traffic accidents statewide has logged 28 crashes at the two intersections where Thomas Lake Harris Drive meets Fountain Grove between 2001 and 2010, according to CHP statistics. The data, however, doesn't distinguish between the two intersections.

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