Through your investigation into San Diego’s sidewalks, street repair, and pedestrian safety, perhaps you’ll help me get my story to someone who can make a difference. While pushing my infant granddaughter in her stroller last week, I ran out of sidewalk and I had to cross a freeway on-ramp. I was walking for my first and last time from west of 70th Street and south of El Cajon Boulevard to Lake Murray for a stroll around the lake. I met three problems:
1. If there is a sign on the northbound west side of 70th Street at El Cajon Boulevard telling me I would run out of sidewalk just before the intersection with Alvarado Road and the Interstate 8 off-ramp where 70th Street becomes Lake Murray Boulevard, I did not see it. If I’d seen a sign, I would have crossed to the east side of 70th at El Cajon Boulevard. Instead, I had to push the stroller in the street into oncoming traffic for that last little bit before Alvarado Road. Solution (besides firm eye contact with drivers): Complete the sidewalk or install a sign at El Cajon Boulevard that tells pedestrians not to walk north on the west side of 70th Street. (Is the sign there already and I missed it? Make the sign bigger and add flashing lights.)
2. After I crossed the freeway on the beautiful and wide sidewalk on the west side of the bridge (the only sidewalk on the bridge), I had to push the stroller across the Interstate 8 westbound on-ramp. Cars enter that on ramp from the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue, Lake Murray Boulevard, and Parkway Drive. I had to watch that intersection to measure when I’d have enough time between cars to push a stroller across. Hair-raising. Solution: Install a light or a pedestrian bridge at the on ramp.
3. On my way home, after a lovely amble around Lake Murray, I accommodated the no-sidewalk problem by crossing to the east side of 70th Street at Alvarado, walking up 70th Street to El Cajon Boulevard and then crossing back to the west side of 70th Street. I know the danger of crossing a four-lane street even in the crosswalk, and I did not like exposing my granddaughter to these extra crossings. Solution: Complete the sidewalk at Alvarado Road and 70th Street so I can do the entire walk on the west side of 70th Street and Lake Murray Boulevard.
So, this was a great fitness walk because it included distance and hills. But I won’t do it again. It is too dangerous. Traffic engineers have benefited drivers at the expense of pedestrians. No wonder we’re overweight or injured.
Margaret Akin lives in San Diego.
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