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City of Watsonville looking to curb pedestrian crashes

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION-TV)- The Watsonville traffic unit is still looking into what caused a car to crash into a pedestrian this past Thursday.

The deadly incident, unfortunately, is all too common in the city. Watsonville ranked fourth in California compared to similar cities for pedestrian injuries and deaths.

With a ranking like that, it's no wonder why some people say they’re worried about doing something as simple as crossing the street. City leaders and police are now stepping in.

Murray Fontes, Principal engineer of the Public Works & Utilities Dept. Murray Fontes explains some changes they’ve made.

“Some of the improvements that have taken place include high visibility crosswalks and bowl bouts to improve pedestrian crossing safety,” Fontes said. “We’re also concerned about cyclists, so we’ve installed green bike lanes.”

The Watsonville Police aren’t sitting back either. Michelle Pulido, Public Information Officer, explains how.

“Our officers are out almost every day doing enforcement, doing education, and really trying to improve safety here in our town.”

While the city is doing everything it can to improve safety, they ask the community to do its part in making Watsonville safer.

“The city looks at pedestrian and bicycle safety as a partnership,” Fontes said. “We’re doing our part to put improvements on the ground and make it safer for those who wanna follow the rules.

Pulido also mentioned the community's part in making the city safer, saying, “We can be out ticketing people every day, doing education every day. We can make the best sidewalks and the best crosswalks, but none of that will work unless we get people changing their behavior and taking the necessary precautions that they need to take when they’re behind the wheel, when they’re on their bicycle or when they’re crossing the street.”

The City has also started an initiative called Vision Zero. The plan aims to reduce traffic-related deaths through community collaboration, data, and other components.

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Karl Cooke

Karl Cooke is a Multimedia Journalist for KION News Channel 46

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