Embedded lights removed before crosswalk accident

Couple hit, hurt while crossing Santa Rita Road

Pleasanton city workers removed the flashing yellow lights embedded in the Francisco Street crosswalk at Santa Rita Road crosswalk days before a couple crossing Santa Rita on their way home was struck and injured last Saturday night, suffering serious injuries.

A 29-year -old drive from Danville hit the couple.

Neither she nor the couple have yet been identified by Pleasanton police, who are continuing to investigate the accident.

Witnesses said the couple was crossing in the early evening darkness at 8:30 p.m. when the driver traveling north on Santa Rita Road struck the husband and wife.

Pleasanton Police Sergeant Robert Leong said the couple was crossing in the marked crosswalk at the intersection with Francisco from the Amador Center shopping center apparently headed to their home.

The flashing yellow lights embedded in the Santa Rita Road crosswalk had been removed earlier although the yellow warning lights on posts facing traffic in both directions are still there and were operating when the couple crossed Santa Rita.

City workers have yet to explain why the embedded lights were removed, although their positions on Santa Rita are marked in red as if the the city planned to replace them.

Leong said the motorist stopped immediately and is cooperating with police investigators.

Anyone who may have information related to the investigation is asked to call the Pleasanton Police Department at (925) 931-5100.


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Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 13, 2013 at 7:56 am

The embedded lights WERE NOT working, the overhead blinking yellow lights WERE working. We were in the opposite direction waiting for these poor people to cross when it happened. It was a horrific vision. We waited and gave full police reports.

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Posted by Concerned resident of area
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm

The embedded lights in the road were removed a couple of days ago. This was obviously a huge mistake. The fact that no one was told they were removed is worse.... The driver probably thought it was clear since there were no lights. How could the city remove them without notification? Talk about dangerous! What were they thinking?! I think the pedestrians should sue the city for removing those lights without notifying the public! They created a very dangerous situation! What did they think would happen? Why does it always take a tragedy such as this for cities and governments to understand their choices affect ACTUAL PEOPLE. When did safety become such a low priority?

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Posted by Dan
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 13, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Yes, the embedded lights were removed earlier in the week. When we drove by we were happy as we thought they were fixing them, but later noticed they had been removed and patched over. The raised flashing lights were working, but for some reason drivers don't see or ignore them. We are hoping that a light like the one near Amador will be installed so no one else is injured or worse. Our prayers go out to the couple who were struck by the car.

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Posted by Appalling Gross Negligence
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2013 at 9:23 pm

I would hope that the newspaper will investigate this in depth and find out what happened.

If the embedded lights were removed with absolutely NO notice to the public and no sign announcing the crosswalk embedded lights were being removed, the mayor and city council need to demand the resignation of the city manager or fire him/her outright as well as the department head of the department that was responsible for removing the embedded lights. I'm not sure if this is the public works department or the traffic department, but either way, a number of people need to be fired for this.

If the embedded lights were broken and not identified as broken and not fixed over the course of several days, whoever is responsible for this and the city manager needs to be removed from their position of responsibility.

This is outrageous and appalling. It is as if the city employees have no regard for the safety of Pleasanton residents and just don't give a damn.

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Posted by member
a resident of another community
on Oct 13, 2013 at 9:51 pm

This has been a problem for many years. The city found the embedded lights solution being used in Walnut Creek and implemented them, yet citizens have been waiting for a fatal accident to occur due to the speed of motorists on Santa Rita Road. When will they wake up and install a signal light necessary to reduce motorist speed and protect pedestrians? Santa Rita and Black has a signal due to cross traffic, but Safeway center attracts foot traffic from neighboring areas creating a dangerous mix. Get with it Mayor, counsel, and City engineers and do your job!

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Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2013 at 11:04 pm

How come Pleasanton PD is able to not release (or maybe the news doesn't request it) the names of any individuals in various cases? No information on the driver or the pedestrians in this one. In the beating case a couple weeks back they wouldn't release the man's name at first even after his wife was on the news. They still haven't, to my knowledge, named the adult person of interest in that case.

It seems like the cases that occur in other areas have at least the name and city where the person lives. Couldn't the news check the police log or something?

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Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Correction: Not "no information" in this case, but no name is what I meant.

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a resident of Downtown
on Oct 14, 2013 at 8:07 am

pleasanton is notorious for stupid, take the left hand turn from case ave. onto valley / juniperio. this is a money maker for any motorist involved in a accident there, and there have been many, is the brain child of poor, poor planning. yet the city refuses to correct it. why you ask ? because the city cant pawn the cost of correction onto a developer yet. so if you find yourself in an accident there, HIRE A LAWER AND SUE THE CITY.
Lets move on, how about the roundabouts on old vinyard, another great planning move by the city of pleasanton, again PUSHED onto another developer to foot the bill for correction. lets not forget the grand decsion making that comes from the lack of law enforcment that is apparent every single day at the local schools ( hearst and pms to name two major offenders ) dont wait for a child to be finally killed infront of one of these campuses. start the legal consequenses right now around town. go after the city for negligence and the police for not fufilling their duty. the blatant disregaurd for the rules and the lack of the police to enforce the laws is appauling. you can drive to hearst elementary any morning and catch dozens and dozens of life threatening law violations every day. JUST HOPE ITS NOT YOUR CHILD THE POLICE AND CITY HAVE TO APOLOGIZE FOR.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2013 at 9:23 am

I believe the City has tried and continues to make efforts to make this area safe. Unfortunately, pedestrians take for granted that a crosswalk will protect them. This is an extremely heavy traffic area and pedestrians hold some responsibility as they are crossing to ensure they are not hit especially at night as this unfortunate terrible accident shows. It appears the driver may not have seen the flashing beacon and did stay to assist. Suing the City or anyone else rarely results in positivity other than lawyers' wallets. I believe the City will continue to make every crosswalk safe, unfortunately pedestrians cross at their leisure and forget that they are in the streets where cars may not see them.

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Posted by Scott Walsh
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 14, 2013 at 9:43 am

Think we need to wait and find out the facts before we start blasting anyone here. The Council talks transparency. Now we need to see if they will be transparent. I think they will be.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Village
on Oct 14, 2013 at 12:45 pm

How about lighting up the street where ever there are crosswalks. The lighting on this crosswalk is very poor, and as a motorist, I have to strain myself to ensure there are no pedestrians crossing whenever I am in this area at dark.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Let's not forget about the Peters Avenue/West Angela intersection. Like anyone in city council or the police department needs us to tell them how dangerous this intersection is. No crosswalk, no lights, and very limited visibility due to all of the parking spots along both sides of the street. Pleasanton's finest use Peters Avenue all the time. In fact, sometimes they're the ones who blow right by me. You'd think at least they would slow down. And you'd think they would have some sort of policy in place whereby they bring this sort of thing to the attention of their supervisors. much does a traffic signal cost? How much is a life worth?

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Posted by concerned resident
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 14, 2013 at 8:43 pm

How has the city made an attempt to make this area safe? They REMOVED the lights and two days later someone was hit! Anyone who says the lights are still there need to go drive on over and look. This isn't a debatable issue. The lights are gone. Plain as day for anyone with eyes to see! Taking those lights out without notifying the public is not "making the area safe," it is doing the exact opposite!

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Posted by Appalling Gross Negligence
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2013 at 12:25 am

After two people were hit in the Francisco/Santa Rita crosswalk in December 2006 and a man named Mr. Zamora spoke at the mid December 2006 city council meeting, the city manager said that in 30 days the police would come up with safety improvements to the crosswalk and the embedded lights were installed a while after that. Randall Lum in 2000 had originally suggested embedded crosswalk lights when he was the Public Works director. I would like the Pleasanton Weekly to find out what idiot or idiots in the City of Pleasanton ordered these embedded lights removed and whether they consulted the city council or did it on their own. I'm sure if the Pleasanton Weekly initiates a public records request on the Santa Rita and Francisco crosswalk they can get to the bottom of this.

See article below.

Couple hit by car in Pleasanton crosswalk

By Malaika Fraley - MediaNews
Posted: 12/13/2006 11:20:03 AM PST |
PLEASANTON - A young Pleasanton couple was injured Tuesday night when a motorist hit them while they walked in a crosswalk, police said today.
The victims, both in their late teens, are expected to survive their injuries. The man is listed in stable condition at a local hospital today. The woman was released from the hospital Tuesday night.

Officer Jon Blanchard the accident occurred at 6:45 p.m. at Santa Rita Road and Francisco Street. The 85-year-old Pleasanton resident who was driving the vehicle will not be charged in the case. Alcohol and drugs were not a factor, Blanchard said.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 925-931-5100.

Malaika Fraley covers crime and public safety. Reach her at 925-945-4782 or at

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Posted by Appalling Gross Negligence
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2013 at 12:48 am

From Web Link

Community Pulse - December 15, 2006

Police Bulletin

Pedestrians struck by vehicle

At 6:45 p.m. Dec. 12, a male and female, both 18 and from Pleasanton, walked eastbound in the crosswalk across Santa Rita Road at San Francisco Street. As they began to cross the northbound lanes of Santa Rita Road, they were struck by a 1998 Cadillac El Dorado driven by an 85-year-old male Pleasanton resident. Both pedestrians sustained injuries and were transported to Eden Hospital where they are listed in stable condition.

The driver was not injured and alcohol was not a factor. The collision is still under investigation. Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call Officer Jon Blanchard or Officer Tom Hansen."

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Posted by Kathleen
a resident of Parkside
on Oct 15, 2013 at 8:16 am

Whomever is responsible for traffic lights is just plain not to bright!
Ever try to make a left turn out of Parkside when there are games in the Sports Park? Traffic is backed up all the way to Arthur Dr waiting to turn left. Used to be two left turn lanes, one of which could go straight into Valley Trails. Someone had the idea that cars going into Valley Trails needed their own lane. Maybe one in 25 cars do that. Everyone else wants to turn left.
It was a dumb change in the lanes and whoever decided it should be that way must never use that intersection.
Just ANOTHER example that the traffic dept is not very smart!

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Posted by A concerned citizen
a resident of Ironwood
on Oct 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I'm curious as to how the man, Eric, a witness to the accident, was able to see the above ground blinking lights and stop and wait for the pedestrians, but not the woman who hit them? This proves to me that someone did indeed see the lights and stop. Was the driver distracted and driving too fast? I feel for the families affected. Maybe we should all make a better effort to drive safely, especially around crosswalks and schools. I fear for kids' safety when I'm am driving to and from school. I have to remind myself that a tardy is not worth a life and try to give myself ample time to get my kids to school.

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Posted by Appalling Gross Negligence
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Traveling in the northbound direction, the crosswalk above ground lights blend into all the background lights from the nearby Santa Rita/Valley intersection stoplights. Southbound the crosswalk lights are easier to see. The woman who was struck has died because of the city's negligence in removing the embedded crosswalk lights on October 8th with absolutely no notice, no public announcement, and no warning signs.

This was irresponsible given the history of this crosswalk and everyone who did this in the chain of command in the city of Pleasanton needs to be fired.

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Posted by kbenson
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Oct 15, 2013 at 10:18 pm

The contra costa times reports that one of the 2 victims died.

Really sad. The city needs to pay for this (although no amount of money will bring back a loved one) Perhaps it will prevent another unnecessary death in the future

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Posted by Appalling Gross Negligence
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2013 at 10:46 pm

What is appalling is that it appears that city staff not only did not announce the embedded lights were being removed to be public, but it also looks like then did an end run around the Mayor/City Council and kept them in the dark too.

Notice that city employee Mike Tassano quoted (below) in the other online news source in Pleasanton refers to "my new installations" and references residents wanting him personally to weigh the benefits vs. maintenance costs.

"Tassano wrote, via email:
The lights are quite costly to maintain. They are a great tool to use to give additional notification to motorists of a pedestrian crossing. We have several in pavement flashing crosswalks in the City. Knowing now the cost to maintain the systems does factor into to the decision for my new installations (residents would want me to weigh the benefits vs. the maintenance costs)."

He goes on to say that they were removed October 8th and were supposed to be replaced on October 9th, but there were construction delays. This is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE. They should have held off removing the embedded lights until they were lined up to replace them the same exact day.

The city staff involved in this recklessly endangered the lives of Pleasanton residents, now one person is dead, and the city staff responsible need to be removed.

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Posted by Dan
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 17, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Unfortunately, my family has had to stop in the middle of the street MANY times even when the embedded lights were working and flashing because drivers are unaware of the flashing lights or pedestrians in the street. A stop light like the one at Amador needs to be installed. I foresee more injuries with the current embedded light system. This accident could have happened even with the embedded lights! Please drive safely!

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Posted by Matt Watts
a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I feel there should be a traffic light there. The traffic jams because of the school and the busy Safeway shopping center are two good reasons, plus the swimming pool and Soccer park, plus people cross to catch the bus sometimes in a hurry.
I live across the street from Safeway but I never walk there for fear of my life, and I do not own a bike for that reason too. It's just too dangerous a City to walk or bike in.
Thank you.

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