We had a tragedy occur last week in District 6 when a neighbor was struck and killed by a car while walking across Mira Mesa Blvd. at Aderman Ave.
Like many of the interchanges and crosswalks along Mira Mesa Blvd., the intersection at Aderman is not especially pedestrian friendly. It’s a big suburban intersection with cars driving at high rates of speed, cars making jumpy right-hand turns, and signal-controlled left turns and u-turns occurring at all hours of the day.
Last week’s tragedy occurred in the middle of the afternoon while the individual was crossing in a crosswalk. There was nothing unusual. The pedestrian wasn’t doing anything wrong. But tragedy struck, and a life was lost.
Our District 6 neighborhoods are, in many ways, products of the mid-20th Century, and designed to be car-centric instead of pedestrian-friendly. As a result, we have some of the most pedestrian-inhospitable spaces and intersections in the city.
Granted, we’re used to these spaces, but surely there’s room for improvement and greater pedestrian accessibility that also results in less exposure for us and our neighbors.
As more housing arrives in District 6 – including the near 7,000 units going on-line the next several years in Mira Mesa with the construction of Three Roots and the completion of Casa Mira View, along with the expected Stone Creek development in the quarry along Camino Ruiz – we need to think about how to best prepare for the volume of new neighbors we’ll be welcoming into our community.
And we need to plan, budget, and prepare now to better “neighborhoodize” our communities so accidents like what happened last week don’t continue to occur.
We’ve talked about and toyed with the idea of pedestrian bridges before. Certainly these would be welcome at key junctions over Mira Mesa Blvd. and other high-speed suburban streets. Pedestrian bridges would also enable, for example, patrons to visit a greater variety of restaurants and other establishments in the Convoy District without having to navigate across busy streets and through intersection blind spots.
But it requires foresight and leadership, smart planning and smart growth, and a determination that our communities get the transit we need so our neighbors might one day take the bus because it makes better sense than taking their car – and so bicyclists or pedestrians walking to visit friends, family, or businesses are less exposed to the built-in hazards of our car-centric suburban infrastructure.
Together, I’m confident we can address these problems, and arrive at solutions that enhance the quality of life we enjoy in our District 6 communities.