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Pedestrian Safety

Perils of walking in Alhambra, My near death experience!

9:05 AM PST on January 3, 2011

The offending crosswalk via Google Maps.
The offending crosswalk via Google Maps.

I pressed the crosswalk button and waited until the traffic light signaled me to cross the street. Before I stepped onto the cross walk on Main Street at the intersection with Granada, heading north, I looked ahead slightly left to see if there were any on coming cars.

Besides the handful of cars stopped by the red light at Main Street the coast was clear.  I did notice a white van stopped at the southbound Granada left hand turn lane waiting to make the turn.

There was nothing to signal danger as I proceeded to cross this street, something I do every day.  All of a sudden the white van starts making a left-hand turn, a mere 10 seconds after I stepped into the crosswalk. I was not even half way across the street before I watched this van head right toward me.

I thought to myself this can’t be happening. This driver clearly sees me.  I am right in front of them.

Seemingly, in slow motion this white van approaches.  I am thinking what do I do? I can’t believe this is happening. I am a moving target getting ready to get hit by this white van.

Luckily the van was driving slowly so I was able to stop the van with my hand. The impact of stopping this machine set my adrenaline rushing through my body.  I started to bang on the driver side window for at least an apology for her attempt on my life.

Rojas at Beyond Cars exhibit with Rail L.A.  Photo: ##
Rojas at Beyond Cars exhibit with Rail L.A. Photo: ##

But she just giggled and drove on!

This is the closest I ever came to death.  I spoke to my mother, another resident of Alhambra, and neighbors about my attempted tragedy. It turns out everyone, pedestrian, joggers, and cyclists, have all had similar near death experiences using Alhambra’s streets.

Unfortunately, not everyone has escaped injury.  For example, my neighbor, a senior citizen, was hit by a car and sent to convalescents because of injuries and later died because of them. Or a woman was killed by a car while getting a news paper for her husband.

The transportation environmental conditions of Alhambra should not warrant so much fear and unsafe street condition. The streets are paved, have sidewalks, in a low-density environment.

This is not Downtown LA with high pedestrian counts and traffic volumes. I count maybe ten  pedestrians a day on my street.

This in not East LA where vendors, transit riders, and children use the streets. This is not a place of high truck traffic. So why are the streets so perilous to use in Alhambra?

There’s plenty of potential reasons, but ultimately it will be up to the people of Alhambra , and their government leaders, to address.

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