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City Councilmembers Say More Should Be Done to Prevent Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatalities in Pasadena

Published on Wednesday, July 26, 2023 | 5:00 am

A view of a damaged car after a driver struck and killed a pedestrian on Washington Boulevard in October, 2020. [Photo by RMG News]
While Councilmembers agree that the Department of Transportation’s Traffic Safety Campaign could help get drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to follow traffic laws, they also believe more should be done to prevent traffic collision fatalities in the city. 

During the Municipal Services Committee meeting on Tuesday, City Associate Engineer Donson Liu reported that Pasadena has reported a consistently high number of pedestrian/bike crashes in each of the last four years, with 2-6 fatalities per year. 

55% of those who were killed or injured were seniors while 13% were homeless people.

According to Liu, cars in Pasadena are traveling 2 miles per hour faster overall when comparing 2021 to pre-pandemic 2019 conditions.

Aside from an uptick in speed, the DOT has also seen “blatant disregard for signages,” according to DOT Director Laura Cornejo.  

Liu said that the previous campaigns on road safety were “well received” by residents but “do not appear to have a correlation to crash, injury and speeding data.”

The new campaign will be created by local strategic design and branding firm BC Design Haus. The contract to distribute a 12-month long citywide traffic safety campaign was awarded to the firm last January.

Now that a branding firm is working on the campaign, DOT hopes for more effective results in preventing fatalities than previous campaigns.  

“We think that their expertise in reaching the public is hopefully more effective than what we’ve done in the past.”

The campaign will involve both digital and physical media and will target drivers, according to Liu. 

“I’m grateful for the campaign but I think we have to do more about installations, stop signs [and] speed humps to curb the way people are driving around neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Tyron Hampton. 

While he believes that public education is important, Councilmember Jason Lyon urged Dept. of Transportation officials to have BC Design Haus message test the campaign to ensure it will work. 

“I do want to hear back next year if we saw any changes from the data, what kind of feedback we were getting even anecdotally about the campaign,” added Lyon. “Even if it’s a tiny bit of money …  I’m not sure it’s the best use of our money.”

Vice Mayor Felicia Williams said she would like to see the campaign get out more to the target population including drivers, seniors and unhoused individuals. 

“Engineering, campaigns, education and enforcement –  I think we’re just going to have to keep doing all of the above,” added Williams.

Responding to all comments, Liu said that the campaign alone will not be enough to address the high number of pedestrian/bike crashes in the city.

“The reason we decided to embark on a campaign, to begin with, is just the acknowledgment not just from us but from US DOT that safety is a shared responsibility and there are multiple factors that go into the safety of our streets,” said Liu. 

“We fully acknowledge that this is not a silver bullet to traffic safety but this is just one of our ways that we can help improve outcomes.” 

According to Liu, BC Design Haus is now finalizing concepts for the campaign based on previously submitted city staff comments. 

The campaign will run from August 2023 through the end of July 2024.

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