Let’s make it safer to walk in Claremont

Brian Hernandez walks beneath a canopy of yellow leaves as he heads north on Mills Avenue on Monday in the Russian Village area of Claremont in November 2022. Courier photo/Steven Felschundneff

By Kathryn Mora | Special to the Courier

Four years ago I moved to the beautiful City of Claremont, with its population of 36,000 and breathtaking views of the mountains, known as “The City of Trees and Ph.D.s.” I love living in Claremont except for one thing — it’s a scary and dangerous place for me as a pedestrian, and my main mode of transportation is walking. 

I’ve had many near miss encounters as a pedestrian in Claremont, including my most recent: I was waiting at the northwest corner of Indian Hill Boulevard and Bonita Avenue when the walk sign turned green. I started walking, and halfway across when a woman started to make a left turn, aiming straight toward me. I put up my hand and said stop. She looked at me and speeded through the intersection, almost hitting me. It was frightening. My son and I had another incident about a month ago on the south side of Bonita when a large SUV made a right turn into the crosswalk, swerving to avoid hitting us. Didn’t he see the woman wearing a large brilliant red hat and her 6-foot tall son? Do pedestrians need to fit themselves with flashing red lights to cross the street?

Walking east on the south side of Bonita near Mountain and Cambridge avenues is especially dangerous. Drivers there attempt to rush pedestrians even before they step off the curb. After the signal turns green and before you step off the curb you must look behind you. If there’s a car waiting, make eye contact with the driver before you proceed.

Some people seem to have a bullying attitude toward pedestrians. “Hey, we’re more important than you and have the right of way.” I don’t think they’re aware of the California state law. “California’s Vehicle Code § 21950 CVC requires drivers to yield to pedestrians crossing a roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk. Pedestrians have the right-of-way in both marked or unmarked crosswalks.” 

Drivers should know this law, and be ticketed when they break it. I think the ticket should require the driver to be a pedestrian in Claremont for a month or more. Maybe walking in the shoes of the pedestrian will motivate drivers to be kinder.

Pedestrian safety is a must on the streets of Claremont. We all must look in every direction including behind us before stepping off the curb into the crosswalk with or without a signal. It could save our lives.

This issue needs attention, and together we can make the streets safer for everyone in Claremont. I strongly recommend attending Claremont City Council meetings and joining the advocacy groups Claremont Streets for People and Active Claremont

Let’s work together to make our beautiful City of Claremont safer and more pleasant for everyone.

Claremont resident Kathryn Mora is a journalist/writer currently working on two memoirs and a book about sexism and ageism against women.


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