Mountain View Voice

News - July 30, 2010

City examining site of fatal accident

Stop sign or lights might increase safety at crosswalk

by Nick Veronin

Trees, swaying lightly in the cool breeze, line the sidewalk and median strip of California Street at its intersection with Franklin Street near the heart of downtown Mountain View. Yet, it was this street, so peaceful at the moment, that last week was the scene of a hit and run accident that left an 80-year-old Mountain View man dead and has a Saratoga woman facing criminal charges.

Manuel Enos, was struck at about 7:40 p.m. on July 19 by a Toyota Corolla as he crossed California Street, heading north from the 400 block to the 300 block of Franklin Street. The driver fled.

A 46-year-old woman named Keibun Son was arrested for felony hit and run later that same evening. Enos died the next day from injuries he suffered when he was hit by the car.

Son, when reached by phone, declined to comment on the accident.

"They need to do something," said a woman who lives in the 400 block of Franklin Street, echoing the sentiment expressed by many others on the Voice Town Square online forum. Some have complained that cars parked along California Street can create blind spots. Others have suggested that a stop sign be put up or flashing lights installed along the edge of the crosswalk.

The Franklin Street woman, who asked that her name not be used, said she has complained to police about the intersection, where she said accidents are common. She said that a stop sign would help prevent accidents.

Mike Fuller, the public works director for City of Mountain View, said his department reviewed the accident and determined that it was not a particularly dangerous intersection. "There's pretty good visibility," he said.

According to Fuller there are no records of pedestrian collisions at the intersection in his department's database, which goes back to 2001.

He noted that there's a warning sign, picturing a human figure crossing a crosswalk, that's clearly visible for vehicles approaching the intersection, and a "high-visibility crosswalk," painted so it looks like a giant white ladder, was installed in 2008. Fuller said some have called for a stop sign at the intersection.

"We will be reviewing the police report for the accident and we will take a look to see if additional improvements at the intersection are warranted," he said.

Another problem, said the woman on Franklin Street, is that in the evenings the setting sun can make driving west on California Street, as Son was doing at the time of the collision, very difficult. California Street runs nearly due east and west in either direction at its juncture with Franklin.

Fuller acknowledged that cars driving westbound on California Street have to deal with the setting sun. He advised drivers to use their visor, wear sunglasses and keep their windshield clean, to reduce glare as much as possible. Ultimately, he said, drivers need to "drive appropriately. If you cannot see as well as you normally can, you should probably be driving slower."

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