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Woman hit by car in Solvang crosswalk suffers serious injuries

Posted at 9:46 PM, Nov 16, 2018

A 70-year-old woman is recovering from serious injuries after she was hit by a car while crossing the street in a Solvang crosswalk.

The accident was reported Thursday morning at Mission and 4th. Authorities say the driver who hit the woman had sun in his eyes, but many community members are now asking for more safety measures to be installed to remind drivers to pay attention.

Several crosswalks in the city were updated in the last year, including one on Mission Drive, which now has flashing lights. Community members say it’s a good first step, but there need to be lights in additional locations as well.

“It’s still a difficult place to cross, especially coming from the bank across the street over this way because you can’t see if there are cars parked on the side of the road. You can’t see if cars are coming,” said Paula Cookenour, an employee at Jule Hus. “The flashing lights on every corner makes much more sense.”

While many point fingers at the drivers, some businesses say pedestrians are reckless as well. One shop manager says he has seen people walk into one of the newly-installed signs.

“Sometimes people are on their cell phones or playing a game,” said Fadal Trad who works at Copenhagen Liquor.

The Solvang mayor says the city hired an engineering company to research ways to make the area safer for pedestrians, but what happens on Mission Drive is ultimately controlled by Caltrans.

“The engineers agreed that there should be lights at the end of each of those crosswalks, but Caltrans engineers thought it wasn’t appropriate,” said Solvang Mayor Jim Richardson.

In order for the City Council to revisit the idea, it would take more people speaking out about the issue.

A Caltrans representative tells KSBY it is difficult to simply install lights. There would need to be a full engineering evaluation, which would look at traffic flow, speed limits, and parking.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says the 88-year-old driver who hit the woman in the crosswalk on Thursday was not cited because it was deemed an accident.