Looking out for pedestrians

Dear Street Smarts, Q: The crosswalk button on the corner of Soquel and Mission drives, in front of Erik's Deli, is not working. My employees have to cross back and forth on Soquel multiple times a day when going between offices and sometimes the light is not green long enough for them to walk across safely. Do you know who I need to contact to ask them ti fix this button? Thank you, Crystal Kerr, via email A: That would be county public works and the folks there say the problem has been fixed. Q: I live and operate a small family childcare home near the intersection of 7th and Eaton avenues in Live Oak. My daycare kids and I cross at that intersection several times a week on our way to Twin Lakes Park, also known as Pirate Ship Park. The intersection has been getting progressively more dangerous for pedestrians over the last couple of years and we had a very close call last week when driver didn't see us in the cross walk. The main problem is that drivers are able to turn left onto 7th at the same time that pedestrians cross the street at the light. Obviously, people are supposed to stop for us. However, many don't see us, or see us and speed up to get ahead of us even once we are in the crosswalk. Also, often people turning right from 7th onto Eaton pull through the crosswalk to turn right on red without looking for pedestrians entering the crosswalk. There also have been times when we couldn't cross the street at all during our turn and had to wait another light. I'm wondering what can be done to make the intersection safer? Who do I call? Should I ask neighbors and parents who have had issues at the intersection to call too? Thanks for your help, Angela Brumfeld, Live Oak A: While the county has specific pedestrian-related phases for some traffic signals near schools to accommodate the high number of young children who cross the street, installing such a phase would cause more problems that they would solve, said Jack Sohriakoff, senior traffic engineer for the county. Sohriakoff checked traffic collision logs for the last 10 years and found zero collisions involving pedestrians here, he said. “But knowing this to be a potential problem, we will keep this in mind when considering any potential changes to the timing of the traffic signal,” he said. In the meantime, he encourages you and other pedestrians to try to “look motorists in the eyes to verify that the motorist has recognized them and will act accordingly.”
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