High Risk Crosswalk Near Hendry's Beach
By Neighbors in the Alan Road/Arroyo Burro Beach Area
Dear Mayor Murillo:
We are very concerned neighbors who live in the Alan Road/Arroyo Burro (Hendry’s) Beach locality of Santa Barbara.
We want to bring immediate attention to a high risk pedestrian crosswalk in our neighborhood, for which current measures for public safety are inadequate. The crosswalk of concern is located at the intersection of Cliff Drive and Alan Road. This crosswalk is high volume for both vehicles and pedestrians, as this part of Cliff Drive is the primary access to and from the Arroyo Burro Beach area and Hope Ranch community. The high pedestrian traffic volume is in large part because the adjacent section of Alan Road has become de facto overflow parking (particularly on weekends and during warmer weather) for the Arroyo Burro Beach area.
As residents of this area, we use the crosswalk frequently, and have all observed that the crossing is a treacherous one. Automobiles travel fast on Cliff Drive in this area, and too often do not heed the existing crosswalk or small marker indicating that state law requires vehicles to yield to pedestrians. In part, this may be exacerbated by the fact that many visitors to the beach area are from out of town, and are not familiar with the traffic patterns in this area. In addition, during certain parts of the day the ambient light at the crosswalk is poor, and given the orientation of Cliff Drive at the location, in both early morning and late afternoon the effects of sunlight can affect driver and pedestrian visibility significantly.
Recently, on September 16, a pedestrian was using the crosswalk, walking her dog. She was struck while in the crosswalk at a high rate of speed by a vehicle heading westbound on Cliff Drive. The victim was seriously injured, presenting in critical condition as a major trauma activation, subsequently requiring admission to the intensive care unit at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (her dog was killed).
We are not pointing fingers, but also feel strongly that this tragic incident could have been avoided if the city had taken more proactive measures to improve the safety of the crosswalk. As noted above, the existing signage is inadequate, and further measures such as a pedestrian light signal and/or speed reducing barriers would seem (in our layperson observations) to be appropriate remedies.
Among us who are submitting this letter are first responders, who know first hand the preventable devastation that occurs when pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles and are left with serious, often permanently disabling injuries or even death.
Santa Barbara’s City Council adopted the Vision Zero Strategy in 2018, bringing attention to the fact that saving lives is not expensive when appropriate measures are taken to protect the public safety and further “that it can never be acceptable that people are killed or seriously injured when moving on public roadways.” We applaud this. At the same time, Vision Zero has also acknowledged that our community has a high rate of motor vehicle collisions, including a disproportionate rate of serious or fatal pedestrian outcomes.
We ask again that you help us to take immediate action to provide a fix for this currently high risk crosswalk, and involve the neighborhood in the process. If swift action is not taken, we feel it is merely a matter of time before another person is seriously injured or worse.
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