Another crash at problem crosswalk in Oakland's Fruitvale

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The surveillance video may be difficult to watch, but city leaders say it paints a sobering picture of an ongoing traffic issue that they're trying to solve.
 
At about 5:30 p.m. Monday, a man was trying to walk east across busy Fruitvale Avenue at East 17th Street. A car heading south on Fruitvale stops for another pedestrian across the street. 
 
But as the man steps off the curb, he doesn't realize that a car speeding north on Fruitvale is barreling right toward him.
 
The man survived -- and was even able to walk away. Perhaps fittingly, this crash happened right outside the Miraculous Foundation church.

The woman who hit him got out to help him after the collision and isn't facing any criminal charges.

People who live in the area say this crash is only the latest at the same spot.

On New Year's Day this year, a man was in the same crosswalk when he was hit by a speeding car. That driver fled the scene.

Then, in July, a car sideswiped another vehicle before crashing into the same church at the corner.

The surveillance cameras at Los Hermanos market has caught each incident on video.

 Oakland City Councilman Noel Gallo who lives nearby, has his concerns about the intersection as well.

"We do have to take greater caution at least," Gallo said. "These streets in our area, in East Oakland, can be a near-death experience just trying to get across, and so the reality is we as pedestrians have to be more careful."

After the January crash, the city installed two signs with flashing yellow lights further south on Fruitvale, at East 16th Street, near a park popular with children.

But it can be hard for some motorists to see the signs in their peripheral vision, and there are no lights embedded in the crosswalk. For drivers,  it's a straight shot, with no traffic lights on Fruitvale from International Boulevard to East 18th Street.

The city is evaluating its options.

"Well, for one, we definitely need a crossing light here at this intersection," Gallo said. But he acknowledged that because of the traffic light just a block away, that would be challenging. The other possibility, he said, is installing similar signs with flashing lights on the sidewalks.

Although pedestrians have the right of way at all crosswalks, marked or unmarked, some residents say they are afraid to exercise that right -- at the expense of their lives.

Raymond Hudson made it across safely this morning. He says it's not always that easy, "because they go real fast through here. Now this blinking light deal, just down there, I think? They just put that one in. But from this point all the way to the light there? They drive way too fast."

Susie Garcia lives right where the crosswalk ends.

"I'm scared," Garcia said. "My daughter, she's too much scared."

Jesus Ramirez held his grandson Noah's hand as they walked across Fruitvale.

"Sometimes even the cars during the day, they drive really fast, they don't stop," Ramirez said. "So I'm asking the city of Oakland, whoever's in charge, to give us a light there and more traffic control."

For his part, Noah said, "Every day you need to take a hand from your Dad. Or else if you don't do that, then you're going to get smashed."

Noah said cars should slow down, "because if they crashes somebody, then somebody's going to get hurt."

 

 
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