Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Walker, Texas Ranger - is a stop sign truly the best solution for Walnut and Walker?

This is why I get disappointed in people who assume that Iraq and Obama and McCain and the unemployment rate are "real" news.

I submit that things that happen in localities are often much more relevant to our personal lives than things that happen inside the Beltway or inside the Green Zone.

Take this story from January, in which the Roberts family, grieving over the November 13, 2007 death of Paul Roberts at the corner of Walnut and Walker avenues in Ontario, was circulating a petition to install a stop sign at the intersection of Walnut and Walker. According to the article, however, Ontario's city manager Greg Devereaux noted that a stop sign was not justified at the intersection, due to state standards.

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According to the Daily Bulletin, the Roberts family request will be discussed at tonight's City Council meeting. Item 11 (of 11) on tonight's City Council agenda is as follows:

Meeting Date: February 19, 2008
Section: Administrative Reports

Discussion, possible action.

In other words, let the citizens vent at a late hour and continue the discussion to another time.

In all fairness to the city, the occurrence of a death on a public road does not automatically dictate that a stop sign, or a street light, or traffic calming obstructions, or perhaps a road closure, are required, although Cheryl of Montclair has determined that stop signs are the obvious solution:

[W]e need Stop signs all up and down Walnut there. It was just a matter of time now maybe the city will do something about it.

John Bisnar of the California Injury Blog agrees with Cheryl:

We support this family’s tremendous effort to make sure that their neighbors don’t suffer the tragedy and heartbreak they suffered....

City leaders must stand up for their residents. It seems as if the city recognizes that this is a dangerous intersection that is not conducive to pedestrian safety. They could be held liable if such incidents were to happen again and they did not take the steps needed to ensure pedestrian safety at that dangerous intersection.

But what if the city puts up a stop sign and a driver ignores it and kills someone else? Just because a stop sign is put on a road, the road isn't necessarily any more safe. Just ask the driver of a Chevrolet sedan in Midland, Texas on November 6, 1963. This driver ignored a stop sign at an intersection and killed a classmate, Michael Douglas. The name of the driver was Laura Welch, but she later married some dude who later owned the Texas Rangers baseball team.