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Original post made
on Jul 2, 2007
When I saw the victim shortly after she had been hit, she was very close to the designated crosswalk. I thought she had been in it. (She could have been propelled there, though.) It looked, from what she was wearing, as though this was an employee going to work.
The driver, according to the witnesses and according to the individual herself, had been driving about 30 mph. The victim was able to give her name, move all extremities, and ask an appropriate question ("What happened?")
What is wrong with Welch Road is that there is no way a driver can really tell what kind of space she/he is driving through. It is not immediately obvious that people are constantly crossing Welch Road, and there probably is no "quiet" time, because this is an area of medical buildings/hospitals. Because of the danger to pedestrians, there was at one time, and probably still is, a guard stationed during the week at the crosswalk near where this person was hit. The guard tries to make sure that the traffic does stop for pedestrians.
However... if you have to go so far as to place a guard there, it seems to me that you KNOW something is wrong. You need to do something more to protect pedestrians. Speed bumps? Maybe.
Maybe this is where a new hospital should be, and, one day, there should be no more Welch Road.
If she was unidentified, how did they know she was 56 years old? The journalism is missing a little something here.
I didn't witness this accident but I work in the building across the street from Packard Hospital, where this accident happened. Cars drive by there much too fast, particularly coming around the curve. There are two cross walks - one is guarded during clinic hours so patients crossing between the clinic at 730 Welch and the hospital are safer, but there is no guard at the second cross walk, in front of 750 Welch. That cross walk is often ignored by pedestrians, as it is halfway between two logical and more convenient crossing areas, and many people don't bother going out of their way to use it. All of that is neither here nor there, cars do not have a license to hit pedestrians who are not in a cross walk. My impression is that the pedestrian would still have been hit had she been in the cross walk, 5 or 10 feet away. Something should be done to slow down the traffic on that street. Speed bumps? Great. Speed trap? Even better.
In the morning, heading south (?)on Welch Rd (towards Palo Alto) the sun is at such a low lying level that it is blinding going down that entire stretch of Welch Rd. It is only once you get to the area of the Barn, that you can safely see. Realizing this, it is obvious that a driver should slow down and concentrate on the road, but if they at not paying attention to begin with, or are irresponsible or careless drivers, than anyone else on the road is endangered. Not to blame any pedestrian, it is also obvious that if an oncoming car is facing the sun, than anyone in its path is virtually invisible to the driver, so everyone has to take equal precautions.
I agree that speed bumps would improve things. As a motorist trying to get in & out of the Packard garage frequently, I have witnessed too many near collisions involving people coming around that curve on Welch Rd too fast
Barbara - The pedestrian was identified by age only in a press release put out by the Palo Alto Police Department (Web Link). Several reported witnesses later identified the pedestrian as a female nurse. We are working to confirm the details and will post an update as soon as possible.
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