Four years ago I reached out to local Pacifica officials in an effort to have a crosswalk installed at the intersection of Palmetto and Clarendon by Sharp Park Golf Course.
As most residents are aware, this intersection provides access to a park, the beach, and Mori Point. It is also the path that many residents take to get to the 7-11, the Pottery Shop, as well as other small businesses in the area.
There are currently two crosswalks in that area. One crosswalk is a block away in one direction and almost three blocks away in the other direction, therefore, most pedestrians just cross the streets wherever and whenever the traffic allows.
The traffic is heavier now on Palmetto and Clarendon, especially during rush hour, weekends, and most sunny days. Currently, a Highway 1 exit sign points to the direction for coastal access (which is to cross the Palmetto/Clarendon intersection).
Four years ago the city engineer’s office responded to my inquiry. I was told that the intersection didn’t warrant enough traffic. My response was that I’ve never seen anyone or any meters counting vehicles.
I was told that crosswalks give a false sense of security to pedestrians when there is no stop sign. My response was that there are a number of crosswalks in Pacifica without stop signs, for example, the crosswalk one block away by 7-11 or the crosswalk by Eureka Square, or the lighted crosswalk at Manor by Tam’s Restaurant, just to name a few.
The city engineer’s office even said that there have NOT been any known casualties at that location. It was then that I realized the dialog had ended. Since then, Palmetto has undergone a major project putting in underground cables.
Although it seems that this would have been an opportune time to paint the street, nothing happened. Since then there have been several Fogfests, bike races, beach cleanup groups, and running events, all of which pass THAT intersection.
I have watched people walk their dogs, and children ride their bikes across this intersection. I’ve witnessed "close calls" between seniors on mobile scooters and motorists at this intersection. And I’ve seen horseback riders cross the street to ride on the sandy berm.
This month, I reached out to local officials again. I received an encouraging response from a City Council member that the city should re-evaluate the practices in determining when, how, and by whom the traffic count takes place.
I’m not sure whether anything will change at this intersection, but I am calling upon the good people of Pacifica who are familiar with this beautiful area to support this effort. We want to be proactive about this effort and not wait for a tragedy like the rip current warning signs at the beach that were deemed necessary only after people had drowned.
For the safety of pedestrians as well as bicyclists and motorists, I ask that everyone request that the City of Pacifica install a crosswalk to enable pedestrians to cross Palmetto Drive at Clarendon Road. I believe it is in our best interest to not only increase pedestrian safety, but also to create a broader mission to have livable streets and develop a cultural "share-the-road" mind-set in Pacifica.
Along with pavement markings, it is requested that signage notifying drivers of the presence of pedestrians and possibly improved lighting in the vicinity be added as well. Marked crosswalks are used to raise driver awareness of pedestrian crossings and direct pedestrians to preferred crossing points.
Please join other residents who believe increased infrastructure enhancements could better protect our community. If it is determined by officials that un-signalized intersections are a breeding ground for bad motorist behavior, then a crosswalk with a light system or stop sign is requested.
Pacificans and visitors deserve an option considered to be safe, accessible, and comfortable for walkers, the disabled, cyclists, and motorists, whether it be to access the bus stops, coastal recreational areas, and/or the local neighborhood businesses. We are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now to give this issue priority attention.