By Doug Porter
It was late Wednesday night on the 2800 block of El Cajon Boulevard. A 53 year old man jaywalked as he walked out from a Wendy’s fast food restaurant and was struck by a white Nissan sedan. Despite attempts by EMTs called to the scene, the man died. Police say alcohol was not a factor in the accident and that charges are unlikely to be filed against the driver of the vehicle.
This might seem like a straightforward argument against jaywalking, but it is actually indicative of a much larger problem. El Cajon Boulevard is one of the most pedestrian-unfriendly streets in San Diego.
The place where the jaywalker died lacks pedestrian crossings at nearby intersections. It’s unsafe at any speed for pedestrians and, at 40 miles per hour (the speed most people, including me, drive on EC Blvd), a pedestrian has only a 15% chance of surviving an accident.
Great Streets San Diego, a local non-profit, advocates for the idea of complete street design. This concept:
“…gives equal consideration to all users of the streets. The street is a place where people live, work, play, and move. It includes vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, trees, sidewalks, and the buildings which define its shape and form. Complete Streets are designed for multi-modal transportation, — in other words, for bicycles, pedestrians of all ages and abilities, public transit, commerce, as well as personal cars.”
Referring to an earlier pedestrian death a few miles down the same boulevard, Great Streets San Diego pointed out:
This section of El Cajon Blvd is 5+ lanes wide, straight, with lane widths designed for speeds of 50+ mph; (the same lane widths are used in highway design). Because there are no traffic signals in this stretch, and separate turn lanes have been added, there are no impediments to the fast flow of traffic. There are no marked crosswalks in this 5 block section, and yet, there is a bus stop on each side of the road. What would you do if you got off the bus and want to cross the street?
While the situation in front of the Wendy’s may vary slightly from the above description, pedestrian access was indeed blocked at the adjacent intersection.
There’s been lots of talk over the years about rehabbing El Cajon Boulevard. SANDAG’s Mid City Transit Route will put a dedicated transit lane on the street. Bike San Diego and other community groups are advocating for protected bike lanes.
The North Park Planning Committee’s Vision includes making the area more pedestrian friendly, but stipulates that El Cajon Blvd “is to remain a major, car-oriented thoroughfare.”
The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement (aka the Boulevard) District has some ideas for better lighting and ladder type crosswalks that will improve pedestrian safety.
WalkSanDiego and the San Diego Chapter of the American Planning Association have a terrific white paper called “From Policy to Pavement: Implementing Complete Streets in the San Diego Region”. And I’m sure we’ll get emails about other programs in the pipeline.
We’ve elected a new mayor in San Diego who’s promised to take us away from the “downtown first” mentality and now it’s up to us to keep pushing to make the kinds of changes that are necessary to make our neighborhood and streets safe for all our citizens, not just those behind the wheel.
Senate Showdown on Gun Legislation Moves Forward
Score one for the good guys. The US Senate voted 68 to 31 this morning to avoid a filibuster and consider a bill put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that would expand background checks to more gun buyers, form a national commission on mass violence, create a federal gun trafficking statute and enhance school safety measures.
The defeat of the NRA supported attempt to keep the legislation from even being debated marks the first time in a generation that additional oversight on gun purchases has been considered in the Congress. Gun lobbyists have threatened to “get even” with Senators who vote the “wrong way” on procedural matters, much less acceptance of any bill.
“Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools,” the NRA said in a statement.
We hope the Senate will replace the current provisions of S. 649 with language that is properly focused on addressing mental health inadequacies; prosecuting violent criminals; and keeping our kids safe in their schools. Should it fail to do so, the NRA will make an exception to our standard policy of not “scoring” procedural votes and strongly oppose a cloture motion to move to final passage of S. 649.
Racism Aimed at White Conservatives
Today’s UT-San Diego features a letter to the editor so funny/sad that I feel compelled to share a couple of sentences, just to give readers an idea of how desperate these ‘guns rights’ folks are getting:
All these proposals are at their core extremely racist, in that they target the most law-abiding group in the country, white male conservatives, or the main group at odds with the Obama administration. These efforts are merely a stalking horse for universal registration, which historically has lead to universal confiscation every place that it has been done, and will never meet with the approval of any true conservative or libertarian
Back in the Real World
Greg Dworkin at Daily Kos reminds us that gun control legislation is an uphill struggle:
Mandating seat belts took 19 years from Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed to the 1984 NY State first-in-nation law.
And the LA Times warns that there’s more than just defeating a filibuster standing in the way of any legislative action.
Their goal, according to Senate officials, is to try to draw out the debate on amendments and offer a number of measures that would expand gun owners’ rights. Democrats running for reelection next year in conservative states will feel the need to back many of those amendments, opponents of the measure hope, and if enough of them pass, liberal gun control advocates will turn against the bill.
Hollyweird: National GOP Committee Meeting Underway
The Republicans have braved the Blueness of Taxifornia and are holding their quarterly meeting in Hollywood this week. An attempt to roll back Romney’s procedural reforms (That allowed him to limit Paulista influence) from last year’s convention has been rebuffed, at least at the subcommittee level.
But the big deal coming out of this confab will be a showdown between party regulars and social conservatives over gay marriage. Delegates will be asked to adopt this resolution:
RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee affirms its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America; and be it further
RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee implores the U. S. Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings onCalifornia’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.
While the GOP’s been making a lot of noise about inclusiveness, continuing to snub gay rights is on the agenda and voting the ‘wrong way’ will have consequences. From NBC News:
A group of high-profile social conservatives warned Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus in a letter this week that their supporters could abandon the GOP if the party seeks to change its position on social issues, particularly same-sex marriage.
Thirteen social conservatives, representing various influential groups, wrote Priebus ahead of the RNC’s quarterly meeting this week inLos Angeles to sternly rebuke the conclusions of a post-election report that advised Republican elected officials to adopt a softer tone toward social issues.
“We respectfully warn GOP Leadership that an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents to their support,” concludes the letter, which was obtained by and independently verified by NBC News in advance of the meeting this week.
Not in Kansas Anymore
Should the GOP make it through their gathering without a major split over gay rights, perhaps they can help build the party by passing a resolution in favor of Kansas House Bill 2366, which would make it illegal to use “public funds to promote or implement sustainable development.”
Sustainable development is defined as “development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come.”
So burn, baby burn, and drill, baby drill. From Bloomberg News:
Kansas has the wind-energy potential of 3,102 terawatt hours a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s about 80 percent of the annual electricity consumption of the entire United States. If Kansas developed just a tiny fraction of that — 7,158 megawatts — by 2030, it would provide economic benefits of about $7.8 billion for the state, according to the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Lab. And it would do so without contributing to the global warming that’s frying the state’s wheat and corn and pushing America’s breadbasket north.
That’s sustainability. In fact, there’s so much sustainable profit to be had in Kansas, it should be outlawed.
25000 Memories Stolen in Hillcrest
Superintendent-designee Cindy Marten reports via Facebook this morning on the theft of a very valuable personal possession:
Broad daylight. University Avenue in Hillcrest. Smashed window. 10 years of work on laptop and 25,000 photos on external backup drive GONE. To whoever has them now…I wish you extensive amounts of love and peace. You have in your possession precious work and memories.–Cindy Marten
On This Day: 1947 – Jackie Robinson became the first black player in major-league history. He played in an exhibition game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. 1961 – Bob Dylan made his professional singing debut in Greenwich Village. He opened for John Lee Hooker. 1968 -President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the 1968 Civil Rights Act.
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John Anderson says
I walked up to Idaho + El Cajon Blvd this morning. This death is really bothering me since I walk and bike this area everyday with my daughter and wife. There was nothing at the scene. No flowers, no broken glass. No brake marks on the pavement I could see. A sad day.
Anna Daniels says
I don’t think El Cajon can be a Great Street/Complete Street with the current speed limit. Simply dropping the posted speed limit won’t work without significant traffic calming modifications such as street lights at more intersections for pedestrians and safe accommodations for bicyclists. I live only a few blocks from El Cajon Blvd, but as a pedestrian and transit dependent, avoid it when possible, using University Avenue instead. thanks for covering this issue Doug. It affects a lot of people.
bob dorn says
I think the problem is in the name. It encourages everyone to remember that El Cajon lies at the eastern end of the highway (decrepit old term) and the lights just piss people off because it’s supposed to be a highway. Make it a narrower Boulevard, with a wide center, and coffee kiosks and, and, bike racks and repair stations, and flower stalls and wi-fi areas and hotdog venders. Pretty soon the storage buildings will think about relocating from the curbsides and people can walk without getting killed. Fewer people would be driving El Cajon Blvd. at 50 mph from light to light anymore because some would use I-8 and, or University Ave. Then we could work on University Ave.
” the most law-abiding group in the country, white male conservatives,”
Yeah like the Sandy Hook shooter.
Some of these gun nuts just don’t get it… most of the mass murders have been done by their fellow gun nuts who snapped.
“for universal registration, which historically has lead to universal confiscation every place that it has been done”
And by making references which suggest extreme paranoia, me thinks this one’s just another ticking time bomb. But hey far be it for the greater good of society to be safe from mass murders, the paranoid need their constitutional right to a personal Rambo arsenal fulfilled. Because that’s just what the founding fathers had in mind-high power semi (and fully) automatic rifles with large capacity clips, armor piercing jacketed ammo, and pocket sized handguns.
They knew one day they’d have to go postal on the British.
Maybe one day they will see, that tough, and courage, do not mean going into the bad part of town alone late at night with a gun. It’s going there without one.