In the past week, two folks walking at/across a five or so block stretch of East Central Avenue have been struck and critically injured. One or both of them has perhaps died in the meantime, as that sort of post-crash update never seemed to happen. Let’s hope they are recovering.
The first crash was last Wednesday at Central and San Pablo, site of the new International District Library. This past Saturday, another person was struck by a driver at Central and Tennessee, only a few blocks east of the first incident.
As most know, and readers of Better Burque all know, this stretch of East Central is about the single most dangerous place to walk in a town filled with dangerous places to walk. There have been some recent efforts to address years of carnage, including placement of High-Intensity Activated crossWalk “HAWK” signals at pretty much precisely the two spots where these crashes occurred (one at the Library/San Pablo and another at Central and Texas). Another HAWK is going up further east at Conchas and these signals are also sprinkled through the ART route along Central as it goes through Nob Hill.
It is of course one thing to install a HAWK or other piece of traffic infrastructure designed to make things safer, and quite another thing to get walkers to take advantage of said piece of traffic infrastructure. And yes, it’s yet another thing to get drivers to properly react to said traffic infrastructure.
That’s quite a few things, and it’s pretty apparent we’re not doing one/some/all of them right. At least not yet. I know the City has a little fold-up brochure on using HAWK signals, and there’s this webpage with an electronic version of said brochure, but I’m not aware of ANY education/monitoring regarding HAWK signal usage at ANY of the current HAWK signal sites around town/county.
The many, many continued pedestrian injuries and deaths at/near these HAWKs, unfortunately including the aforementioned two in the last week, illustrate that just putting up some safety infrastructure isn’t enough. Maybe we need some folks like those “Duke City Ambassadors” (formerly “Block-by-Block”) who clean up downtown in hi-viz work vests to stand at HAWK signals during periods of high activity (which on East Central would be pretty much every night) and show folks, walkers AND drivers, how to use them.
We need to do something, because what’s being “done” at present isn’t working nearly well enough.