Council to address crosswalk

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel for locals who fear crossing the street at a crosswalk where two elderly women were struck and seriously injured three and a half years ago.

Although many regulars at the San Carlos Adult Community Center, at the corner of Chestnut Street and San Carlos Avenue, say they feel unsafe crossing at the non signalized crosswalk at that intersection, the San Carlos Transportation and Circulation Commission voted May 15 to leave the crosswalk as it is. The City Council will take up the issue tonight, and Mayor Tom Davids hopes to steer toward adding lights along the crosswalk to increase its visibility.

Community Center patrons Margaret McEnnerny, 78, and Mariana Parise, 74, were struck by a sports utility vehicle in the nonsignalized crosswalk on Dec. 5, 2003. McEnnerny died due to her injuries. Since then, the city has added safety flags that pedestrians can hold while they cross, and the corner also has a blinking yellow light.

The city’s Public Works Department offered the Transportation Commission and the City Council four options:Leave the crosswalk alone; remove it and direct pedestrians to the signalized intersection at Elm Street; add flashing lights to the crosswalk at a cost of $45,000; or add another signal at a cost of more than $200,000, according to Public Works Director Parviz Mokhtari.

According to a survey of accidents on San Carlos Avenue, the 2003 accident was the only one at Chestnut Street in the last four years. Three other pedestrians were struck in crosswalks, one at B Street and two at Laurel Street, which has a traffic signal, while the lion’s share of two-vehicle crashes — 14 — took place at Walnut Street, which also has a signal.

Despite outcry among community center residents, very few came to the Transportation Commission to say what they wanted, said Chairman Paul Spagnoli. The commission voted unanimously to leave the crosswalk alone.

“There didn’t seem to be much desire to change the intersection,” Spagnoli said. “We talked about removal, but from the input we did get, [pedestrians] wanted the crosswalk to be an option.”

The San Carlos City Council meets today at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 600 Elm St.

bwinegarner@examiner.com


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