Pasadena’s Transportation Advisory Commission moved to recommend to the City Council the adoption of the Roadside Memorial Sign Program, which seeks to memorialize the victim of a fatal crash while at the same time raising the awareness of traffic safety to motorists.
The TAC approved the policy as presented by the DOT with a recommendation that the City Council waive the replacement fee for signs that will be up for replacement.
Under the DOT’s proposal, the city will pay for the cost of the installation and will maintain the sign for a period of seven years. After the said period, should the sign require replacement, the cost shall be paid by the requesting family.
“Basically, we do not want the families to bear the cost of having to replace the sign. The cost seems rather nominal and we’re hoping that the City of Pasadena will be able to come up with that amount of funds to be able to do that rather than placing the burden on the family of the victim,” TAC Chair Adriana Lim said after Commissioner Nick Saponara made the motion to recommend the waiving of the fee.
Prior to voting on the matter, members of the public, including Deborah Hsiung, mother of Aidan Tam, the 7-year-old boy who was fatally struck by a pickup truck in a crosswalk at Colorado Boulevard and Hill Avenue on May 31, 2014, expressed their support for the policy.
“I’m still grieving — everyday. I will be grieving for the rest of my life,” said Hsiung, who was heard crying over the phone while making a comment.
In September 2021, the city put up a sign warning motorists to yield the right of way to pedestrians in memory of Tam, who was crossing Hill Avenue with three family members when he was struck by a pickup making a right turn onto northbound Hill Avenue from Colorado Boulevard.
Hsiung said she had not been back to the intersection until last year when the memorial sign was installed.
“The sign has provided some emotional relief for me and with that, I have gotten the strength to return to the intersection and process my grief and I feel that the families of the victims similar to mine deserve something like this sign to recognize their loved one.”
“The sign is also a way for the City of Pasadena to make people more aware of the dangers of our roads and hopefully people will pause to think about their actions before they really hurt someone and their families.”
While Pasadena has an existing Public Monument Policy for the installation of monuments, memorial plaques and other work of art to commemorate individuals or groups, the DOT said the policy is not well-suited for a pedestrian roadside memorial program as it requires that the person that should be memorialized should be deceased for at least five years.
Under the adopted policy, a memorial sign can be requested by the family of a victim of a fatal crash through their local Council District office after a minimum of six months after the collision.
The Director of the DOT will be the approval authority for requests for memorial signs.
As per the policy, once the proposed installation of a memorial sign is approved, the DOT will determine the specifics of the sign design and location, and work with public works to install the sign.