Dear Street Smarts,
Q: I read your column (“Where pedestrians should walk when sidewalks are not present,” Jan. 10) with interest and I am disturbed that you did not caution the driver to slow down and give way to pedestrians in residential neighborhoods. South Navarra Drive is a residential district with no outlet for through traffic. CVC Section 21956 does not apply to residential districts – it is NOT a roadway outside a business or residential district, it IS a residential district.
On my morning walk, however, I proceeded to remain on the left hand side of the road and would have been hit twice if I did not act to avoid cars. The first transpired at the point where Cross Street enters South Navarra. The vegetation obscures the drivers view to the right when they approach South Navarra. Drivers look to their right for cars and then pull onto South Navarra. Walkers must stop or jump out of the way to avoid the cars that don’t bother to look for pedestrians. I heard the delivery vehicle coming this morning, I don’t hear the Prius drivers who do not stop and look.
Returning home, I was almost hit by a Prius who turning right onto South Navarra from Bluehill Court. A vehicle was parked in the car’s lane, so they pulled into my lane without slowing down and almost hit me from behind. I could not hear them coming, so you can imagine my surprise.
Cars frequently park on the street on South Navarra and that reduces the street to one lane. We all know that and most of us slow down and share the road as a result. There are a few idiots who choose to speed through so they don’t have to bother. I have been almost hit more than once when a car slowed to share the road and the one following sped past them because they slowed down. It doesn’t matter that you walk in the proper lane when drivers speed and foolishly claim the right of way, pedestrians be damned.
None of that deals with the fact that there are children on our street and they do ride bikes and skateboards on the street. What are their parents to do with them? Lock them in their houses with video games? We have many people walking their pets. At lunch time, many who work in the industrial complex that houses your own paper use our street for walking.
Yes, pedestrians must exercise caution, but drivers have the primary responsibility for driving safely on residential streets, especially when driving a Prius. If you are driving in a residential neighborhood, slow down!
William Hyder, Scotts Valley
A: Yes, you are correct: Drivers must look for pedestrians, slow down when passing and stop at stop signs, all to avoid hitting them.
“I always tell drivers to get in the habit of stopping first before the limit line before looking in both directions before making their turns,” said Lt. John Hohmann, of Scotts Valley Police. “So many drivers look first before coming to a stop and can’t see far enough down the street and get in a bad habit of then rolling through the stop sing without coming to a complete stop. This is especially dangerous while making right hand turns as the driver is usually looking left and will not see a pedestrian coming from their right side.”
Hohmann plans to keep in touch with you and offer to place a speed trailer on South Navarra to hopefully get drivers to see how fast they are going and slow down.