Foster City’s third pedestrian-related accident this year, albeit a minor one, is spurring more attention on road safety that has already been front and center for officials trying to decide on the most effective ways to eliminate such incidents.
Councilmembers and staff agree both pedestrians and drivers need to remain aware of their surroundings; but Councilman Herb Perez said he and residents want the city to start lower speed limits and not allow right turns on red lights at certain intersections.
For the third time in a few weeks, a pedestrian was struck by a car on Tuesday. Ironically, it was on the same day police conducted a proactive safety patrol. The city experienced a total of four pedestrian related collision in 2013, Foster City police Capt. Joe Pierucci said. Since the start of the year there has already been three, he added.
The woman was in a controlled intersection when she was hit by a driver making a right turn on a red light at Hillsdale and Edgewater boulevards.
The driver in the most recent accident was traveling less than 5 mph and the woman suffered no obvious injuries, Pierucci said. Tuesday’s patrol was planned in the fall and in conjunction with San Mateo police. They wrote more than 100 tickets between both cities, most of which were for crosswalk violations, Pierucci said.
“The [police] chief and I both agree this is not an issue of engineering or an issue of us not doing enough enforcement,” Pierucci said. “It really comes down to people needing to be a little more aware of their surroundings or total, complete undivided attention to their driving.”
Perez said citizens share their traffic concerns daily and the council needs to start considering stricter safety measures.
“The greater concern is there has been a streak of motorist and pedestrian accidents,” Perez said. “At what point does this warrant the city revising its speed limit, its traffic signals and the ability of motorists to make right turns on red on streets that have 35 and 40 mph speed limits?”
Foster City is a small city and there’s no need to speed, Perez said.
“Foster City is four square miles. If you were driving 25 mph versus 35 mph, the amount of time you save is seconds; not minutes, not hours,” Perez said. “So why aren’t we slowing ourselves down?”
After citizen outcry for a stop sign at the scene of the girl’s accident on Port Royal and Edgewater boulevards, the council responded by voting to remove the crosswalk under misguided advice, Perez said. The specific case will return to council March 3 and the crosswalk will remain until then, Perez said.
Leah Edwards, associate civil engineer for the city, said unprotected crosswalks without stop signs or traffic signals aren’t safe and she will be working on informing the council how to go about removing the ones at Port Royal and Edgewater boulevards.
“Unprotected crosswalks can give people a false sense of security, so we always recommend using a protected crosswalk when it’s available,” Edwards said. “It [this crosswalk] came to us as a brand-new one, we wouldn’t recommend it as a suitable site for a crosswalk.”
Councilman Steve Okamoto agrees with Pierucci that they need to preach attentiveness and said he welcomes public input. This issue will continue to come up in future council meetings, Okamoto said.
“We will be looking at overall traffic and pedestrian safety in Foster City in the coming months,” Mayor Charlie Bronitsky said in an email. “But I have already reached out to our police chief and to the superintendent of the San Mateo-Foster City [Elementary] School District to come up with some city and school-related education and outreach programs to make people more aware of safety issues.”
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