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Reader wants pedestrian protecting signage with teeth
Dear Street Smarts, Q: We live on the in-land side of Portola in Live Oak and frequently walk to the beach and use the crosswalk at 36th Avenue and Portola Drive. I would like to see a sign that says, ‘Stop for pedestrians, its the law’ in place in the median at 36th and Portola. The signs I have in mind are neon green and I see them in the cross walk near Margaritaville in Capitola. I can't tell you how many times people have sped through this cross walk while I was walking with my wife and my pre-school age son. I remember my wife who was eight months pregnant almost got run over one time because cars won't stop for people in the cross walk. I have never seen a CHP officer do enforcement at the cross walk at 35th and Portola either. I bet a motorcycle cop hiding next to the Saloon could write his monthly quota of tickets in 30-minutes if he wrote up every driver who doesn't stop for pedestrians. Thanks, P.W. via email A: The neon green signs you’ve seen in Capitola actually read, “State Law -- Yield to Pedestrians Within Crosswalk,” said Jack Sohriakoff, county traffic engineer. State law does not allow the county to erect signs that instruct motorists to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, he said. What’s more, “the County has not yet started to use these neon green and white signs or has set a policy on when to install them,” he said. As for the crosswalk on Portola Drive at 36th Avenue, there are several pedestrian crossing signs in advance of this crosswalk and at the crosswalk, Sohriakoff said. “I will have someone review the area for any missing and/or faded signs and replace them as necessary,” he said. “In addition, I will have them conduct a pedestrian count to determine how many people cross at this location. This will be helpful information in creating a policy for installation of these signs and for grant fund applications.” If the county decides the signs you’ve seen in Capitola would work at various locations in its jurisdiction, Sohriakoff said he’ll seek grant funding to pay for them.