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Grover Beach residents demand safety improvements on busy Oak Park Blvd.

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Posted at 6:56 PM, Jan 22, 2020

Many people in Grover Beach are demanding the city make Oak Park Boulevard safer after a fatal collision Tuesday night they say could have been avoided.

Grover Beach police say the collision happened when a man was crossing the street at the 300 block of North Oak Park in an unmarked crosswalk. He was struck and killed by an SUV.

"Help us before other children and people get hurt. I live on that corner. I see it everyday, 20-30 people cross that street a day - children, babies in strollers, and senior citizens," said Grover Beach resident Les Henderson.

Neighbors say cars speeding and parked in a way that obstructs a clear view of traffic are major issues on North Oak Park Blvd.

Grover Beach resident Sean Murphy says he's afraid to walk his toddler around the block.

"We go on walks all the time in a stroller, outside of a stroller. Grover Beach in particular doesn't have sidewalks everywhere so it's really concerning that just to be outside and enjoying my neighborhood, there's a potential safety hazard all the time," Murphy said.

A recent traffic study revealed there have been 17 traffic collisions on this stretch of road in the last year.

The city says those collisions were primarily caused by "failure to yield and unsafe turning movements or lane changes." The report says excessive speed was not a significant problem.

"A city has to be very diligent and careful in considering possible changes to a street of this caliber. It's not a small residential street, it's a four-lane thoroughfare with 15,000 car trips every day, so the city has been commissioning various studies over the past several years to try to find what was the most appropriate way forward," explained City Manager Matt Bronson.

Several solutions were proposed in the traffic study but staff did not recommend installing a marked crosswalk without additional safety features like more traffic enforcement by police and a pedestrian-activated beacon.

"It seems like some infrastructure-type stuff might help - better lighting, beacons at the crosswalk, things that just make it both easier to cross and easier for drivers to see potential road hazards," Murphy said.

The Grover Beach City Council was set to discuss the safety of Oak Park Blvd. at its meeting Tuesday night but because of the fatal collision, council members decided to continue discussion on the issue to another upcoming meeting.

A witness to the collision says the victim was a 20 year old man who was expecting his second baby with his girlfriend.

Police have not yet released his identity.