The death of a Livermore woman killed trying to cross a street earlier this month has prompted family, friends and even total strangers to push city leaders to improve safety conditions along the notorious stretch of East Avenue.
A group of supporters of Yaneli Morales turned out to the Livermore City Council meeting Monday night calling for action, and more than 1,300 signatures have been collected on an online petition recommending the city add better lighting, speed bumps and other improvements.
"How many fatalities is it going to take for them to do something about this," organizer Jessica Flores wrote on the online petition.
"This is something that I believe has to get done right away so no other families have to mourn the loss of a loved one just because the council chooses to very well remodel the community center and build more houses but can't fix a couple of our streets with just better visibility and more enhancement with drivers," she added.
Morales, 26, died after being hit by a vehicle while attempting to cross East Avenue about 100 feet east of the Jensen Street intersection just before 8:45 p.m. Aug. 4, according to Livermore police. She had not used the nearby crosswalk at East and Jensen that illuminates when the pedestrian button is pressed.
The driver, whose name hasn't been released, was not cited in relation to the collision, with the pedestrian determined to be at fault, Livermore police Sgt. Steve Goard confirmed on Tuesday.
That stretch of East Avenue is considered notorious for pedestrian safety concerns by some residents despite the crosswalk beacon at Jensen.
In the petition narrative, Flores acknowledges Morales wasn't in the crosswalk but says she wasn't far from it and lighting throughout that area of East Avenue is "horrible, and visibility in the evening actually gets worse."
"Even though that intersection is 30mph, drivers very well go faster than that, knowing there's a school near, apartment buildings, a church, a store, where pedestrians are always at crossing," Flores said, while also citing other serious collisions near East and Jensen.
Petition supporters (1,376 signatures toward the 2,000 goal, to date) call for the City Council and traffic planners to consider anything and everything "to enhance the safety so no more tragedies happen."
A handful of Morales' supporters, including her sister, spoke to the council Monday during non-agenda comment. Council members told the audience they were precluded from talking about the issue that night because it wasn't listed on the meeting's posted agenda, but they did instruct city staff to bring the matter back for full discussion at a future meeting.