City plans to upgrade unsafe crosswalk at Catalina/Canon in Point Loma
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 05/22/15 - 03:29 PM | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Residents made a makeshift memorial for Juniper Aavang after she was killed at the Catalina/Canon intersection in Point Loma. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Residents made a makeshift memorial for Juniper Aavang after she was killed at the Catalina/Canon intersection in Point Loma. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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Point Lomans demanding changes to a deadly intersection where a child in a stroller was killed — and her father was critically injured when struck by an SUV in March — got their wish as the city unveiled an interim solution to making the Catalina/Canon intersection safer.

The city unveiled its short-term plans for signalizing and restriping the intersection at Peninsula Community Planning Board’s (PCPB’s) monthly meeting May 21.

In March, a vacationing couple walking their 7-month-old daughter in a stroller about 6:30 a.m. were struck by an SUV turning from Catalina onto Canon. The SUV driver, whose vision was obstructed, stopped to render aid. Both the child and her father were critically injured and hospitalized. The child died. The mother was uninjured in the accident.

City senior traffic engineers Phil Rust and Kharman Tawfiq gave a presentation with a diagram to Peninsula planners indicating changes the city intends to make to the problematic Catalina/Canon intersection.

“Our short-term proposal is to signalize the right-turn crosswalk,” said Rust.

“We will also be restriping the intersection to channelize traffic better in the northbound direction on Catalina, reducing the width of the lane down to 12 feet installing a continental crosswalk,” said Tawfiq.

Continental-, ladder- or zebra-striped crosswalks make them more visible to drivers when people are crossing the street, and have proven to be more effective at getting drivers to yield the right-of-way.

“A pedestrian, push-button activated traffic signal at the crosswalk will also be relocated to the other side of the street,” said Tawfiq.

Once the necessary permitting approvals are obtained, the city engineers said it would take approximately two months to make short-term changes to the intersection, which will also include putting in new signage.

PCPG planner Nicole Burgess noted allowance needs to be made by the city for marking bike lanes crossing that intersection.

Planner Jay Shumacher added the city needs to consider delivery trucks going to a Fresh & Easy near the intersection when determining how to make the problem intersection safer.

Audience members pointed out the area of the Catalina/Canon intersection is especially dangerous because it has become a de facto “drag strip” for cars. One neighbor noted that a flashing speed sign installed by the city hasn’t worked in discouraging speeding there.

“We want to take input from all of you, that’s why we’re here,” said engineer Rust. “We can come back later with long-term ideas (for improving the intersection).”

The engineers promised to return later to the advisory group to update it before changes at the Catalina/Canon intersection are made.

PCPG will next meet from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 18 at the Point Loma/Hervey Library, 3701 Voltaire St., in the Community Room.
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