Crosswalk on upper State Street

Paul Wellman

Crosswalk on upper State Street

Danger Lurks on Upper State

Unfit for Pedestrians

Thursday, April 26, 2012
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HIT-RUN: She lay there, crumpled in the middle of upper State Street, not moving. We watched, sickened, as paramedics gently edged her onto a stretcher.

The 41-year-old woman had more courage than I have, braving that wide, wild expanse of State, even in a crosswalk. I wouldn’t risk it. It’s dangerous enough crossing with the signal lights at Calle Laureles and Las Positas Road.

Upper State is a raceway, a no-man’s-land for pedestrians, Sue and I found after we moved to San Roque a few years ago. The car is king, and anyone on foot is seen as a member of a subhuman species. You’re in the way, so look out!

Barney Brantingham

The unidentified woman survived, apparently with a broken neck and leg, while police seek the hit-run driver of the suspect black pickup with black camper shell. (Call Officer Mark Hunt at 897-3719 with tips on the April 17 accident.) The partial license plate is 5A6518, but so far it hasn’t been traced. Police say they’re working on leads.

One car had stopped for the woman in the crosswalk, but the suspect driver didn’t check to see if anyone was walking, and he knocked her flying. Luckily, he wasn’t going at high speed, Hunt said.

Witnesses say the driver was unshaven, had dark hair, and was about 50 to 60 years old. After knocking the woman down near Calle Palo Colorado, he made a fast turn, sped through the Shell station, and fled through San Roque. He’s facing felony hit-run charges.

Then, just a few days ago, a woman driving a white SUV reportedly hit a pedestrian a few blocks away at State and Ontare Road and then took off. “We have about 400 [pedestrian] hit-runs a year,” Hunt said. “It’s a constant issue.”

When we’re not invisible, we’re just in their way. Here’s one incident: A friend noticed that while a man with a neck brace and cane was negotiating upper State, a guy was leaning on the horn, impatient to barrel through. Another: When the late photographer Bob Ponce crossed upper State in a motorized scooter due to his many medical problems, he encountered drivers honking and swearing at him.

“It’s unfortunate that drivers don’t pay more attention to their driving,” Hunt told me. “They’re driving [the equivalent of] a 3,000-pound bullet. There are so many distractions out there, and everyone’s in such a hurry.

“A pedestrian in a crosswalk has to keep looking, and be aware,” Hunt told me. “Crosswalks don’t have steel walls.”

Don’t blame police for all this mayhem. The culprit is the nut holding the wheel. On Tuesday, within a period of only about 10 minutes, Sue noticed a motorcycle cop pull over two drivers.

The city, as part of its ongoing study of certain problem crosswalks, plans to take a hard look at the twin crossings on State at Calle Palo Colorado and Ontare. No conclusions yet.

DISSING THEIR OWN: The Santa Barbara County Democratic Party gathered for a preelection pep rally Saturday night and heard the main speaker laud two Republican presidents, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan; trash ex-president Bill Clinton; and offer faint praise for President Barack Obama.

Some Dems in the Montecito Country Club audience said they were shocked that while 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf was highly honored, no drums were beaten for 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal and 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr, both facing reelection bids on the June ballot. No way was any slight intended, said Daraka Larimore-Hall, executive board chair. “We don’t play those games.” He chalked it off to “political gossip.”

The suspicion by some is that Carbajal and Farr were being punished for their vote last December to break a bargaining deadlock and impose a contract on SEIU Local 721. It included a 3.5-percent pay cut on union members. The two supervisors were in the 4-1 majority, while Wolf dissented with a pro-union vote.

Minutes after the Dems presented a Solidarity Award to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, journalist Robert Scheer gave a slasher speech that included kind words for anti-choice GOP ex-presidential candidate Ron Paul. “We were stunned,” one Dem told me.

Iconoclastic Scheer, an L.A. Times reporter and columnist for 30 years before being fired, also observed that “the Republicans have become a sick joke.” The GOP has moved so far to the right that “even Reagan would be considered left.”

Scheer’s new book was on sale: The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

At least no one tried to blame this one on the free right turn at State and de la Vina.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 26, 2012 at 12:17 p.m. (Suggest removal) creepy that "some Dems...were shocked" that Wolf was honored. and weirder that Barney felt he needed to write about it. Did he ask Wolf for comment?

whosecityisthis2012 (anonymous profile)
April 26, 2012 at 12:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Rather than bulb-outs and expensive brick crossings that are already deteriorating, why doesn't our city council consider in-road lights that flash when a pedestrian enters the roadway.
They are very effective at getting drivers' attention:

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
April 27, 2012 at 6 a.m. (Suggest removal)

At least no one tried to blame this one on a bulb-out or other obstruction like predominate straight lines. How about blaming this accident on high-density, the density we don't have. or the homeless, or all those bicyclists.

400 pedestrian hit and runs a year? Regardless of the figure self-proclaimed gang-member 3-fingas down council member Randy Rowse ran on a "cleanliness" campaign. Conservatives and 'independents', nuttier than holiday fruitcakes, are afraid of panhandlers and dreadlock'd teens? Red shirts, yellow shirts, brown shirts. Conservative issues and solutions even nuttier holiday fruitcakes.

Odd account of dem party. But imagine what a republican party rally would be like; Terrorist Ted Nugent types, white fists in the air, screaming for be-headings and such. Christians? Fun fun fun, I guess.

DonMcDermott (anonymous profile)
April 27, 2012 at 6:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Funny thing about bulbouts: I recently visited Visalia in the very conservative Central Valley, and the downtown core is full of 'em. Made me feel a lot safer crossing the street on foot at unsignalized intersections, and guess what: drivers even stopped most times when they saw a pedestrian waiting to cross. What a concept!

As for State at Calle Palo Colorado (CPC): Only a suicidal fool or a fast sprinter would try to cross on foot there, with two car lanes in each direction and the left-turn lane from eastbound State onto northbound CPC. The other really bad one is by CVS, at State and Calle Crespis. There, cars westbound on State are rounding a curve when and if they see a pedestrian in the crosswalk.

GregMohr (anonymous profile)
April 27, 2012 at 3:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I believe the suspect (in the hit-and-run - no suspicion of any Democratic party leadership as yet) has been located and was arrested as of 4/24.
That said, I nearly saw a repeat at the incredibly dangerous Calle Palo Colorado / State Street intersection a few minutes ago. The odds of making 4/4 lanes aren't good in this town full of mega-mobiles that block other drivers' view. And painted crosswalks either become invisible or don't get the attention of self-important twits yacking on cell phones. Of course, flashing lights and a rubber chicken to the windshield might not help in those cases since "they like totally are getting in my way."
But this particular crosswalk is a death trap. It's at a T-intersection with the added distraction of the confusing State/de la Vina mishmash in front of southbound drivers. At least enlarge the signage and add some flashing lights like Goleta has; or surrender by posting no ped crossing and send pedestrians to the signals.

anemonefish (anonymous profile)
April 27, 2012 at 3:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Greg Mohr is correct. Bulb-outs or curb extensions are proven desireable and effective, even in conservative towns. Our city was sneaking them in but the electorate chose Francisco, Self, Hotchkiss and Rowse, effectively obstructing safety improvements in favor of higher dangerous speeds even when developers would pay for them.

DonMcDermott (anonymous profile)
April 28, 2012 at 8:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Don you are a Right Wingers dream come true. I personally thought the city has been beyond transparent in the Bulb-out implementation process.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 28, 2012 at 11:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

see youtube for important scenes from "Death Race 2000".
I'm thinking SB might want their own version, you know,with all the celebrities and fancy racing(speeding) cars you see around.

GluteousMaximus (anonymous profile)
April 28, 2012 at 4:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Design is important. Diminished law enforcement as the citys footprint has pretty much been unchanged for 65 years. Population has doubled, miles driven per resident are way up and far exceeds the ability of what is left of the SBPD Squad Patrol of the 1940s to keep up with our growing nascar hotrod hog and racing ducati culture.

We want great neighborhoods where we can walk and ride bicycles. So scrap Mayor Schneiders tax plan because we need a better one-buck chuck tax plan instead. Amongst other things we need to retrofit with better roadway designs, repave and to add more vehicle code enforcement officers that are paid well and get really good benefits. After all they would be dealing with an increasingly mobile and infantile public. We need more enforcement of the old infractions as well as the newer infringements called 'distractions.'

DonMcDermott (anonymous profile)
April 29, 2012 at 7:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well well, another example of the dystopia of Santa Barbara. Here is the answer: Make the guilty people accountable for their behavior and quit making it even more inconvenient for the rest of the drivers with bulb outs etc thus adding to the road rage.

Bust aggressive/speeding drivers; make it the no.1 priorty. Make the Monday-morning talk around the water cooler be "Yeah, I got a speeding ticket too...bummer". Enough is enough. In the words of George Harrison in his song "Piggies": (Actually his mother added the lyric) "What they need's a damn good whacking".

S.B. adults are acting like spoiled children and they need to be dealt with at that level.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 2, 2012 at 8:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No Bill, instead make it incredibly difficult for people like me to drive my car legally while making a walking and bicycling utopia out of a traditional city grid.
In addition, we'll generate our power from Solyndra built solar cells, buy nothing but locally grown and manufactured products, never venture more than 40 miles from our homes so our electric cars actually get us back home without going dead and declare ourselves the Peoples Republic of Santa Barbara...Berkeley may sue us for copyright infringement...
Or, we could simply increase enforcement and fine the crap out of speeding cars, jay walking pedestrians, and stop sign blowing bicycles for starters. I've been in favor or this for years and I ride a bike and walk many times each week in addition to driving.
Gosh, Socialist Don cops to "sneaking in" the bulbouts? How utterly democratic...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2012 at 2:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you for straightening me out Italiansurg. Your effort to re-educate my was successful.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 4, 2012 at 2:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You should open a camp Italiansurg.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 4, 2012 at 7:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@italiansurg: "No Bill, instead make it incredibly difficult for people like me to drive my car legally while making a walking and bicycling utopia out of a traditional city grid."

Yeah, except the "traditional city grid" pre-dates automobiles by a few thousand years. But hey, at least it gives you yet another thing to whine about...

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
May 4, 2012 at 10:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"No Bill, instead make it incredibly difficult for people like me to drive my car legally while making a walking and bicycling utopia out of a traditional city grid."

Ha ha! We can call it "Logan's Run".

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 4, 2012 at 10:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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