The Santa Barbara City Council is expected to decide Tuesday night which pedestrian safety options to implement at two Milpas Street intersections.
Concerns over pedestrian safety in that area peaked last October, when 15-year-old Sergio Romero was struck and killed while crossing Milpas Street at the Ortega Street crosswalk.
“The street where my son was killed is not a safe street,” Romero’s mother, Lupe, said at an outreach meeting. “I have two children left, and I love them with all my heart. I want them to be adults. I want to see them graduate.”
Despite neighbors asking for traffic signals at numerous community meetings, city staff members are recommending different methods, including restriping a few blocks of Milpas Street, and adding raised medians and pedestrian-activated flashing lights to make crossing easier for bicyclists and pedestrians at Ortega Street.
For the Yanonali Street intersection, they recommend overhead-mounted, pedestrian-activated flashers and removing the southbound bus stop. The changes would cost $170,000 and $82,000, respectively, from the city streets fund.
“Traffic signals should only be installed when they will improve overall safety and efficiency,” according to the staff report.
Traffic engineer Derrick Bailey said that while the signals make crossing easier, putting lights in at those intersections could increase vehicle-on-vehicle crashes, cause traffic delays and eliminate some parking spaces.
“That’s what the people want; that’s what the neighborhood has been asking for — if I’m not mistaken, for six years. This is nothing new,” NAC member Sebastian Aldana Jr. said.
The groups recommend curb extensions and a median “refuge island” with pedestrian-activated flashers at Ortega Street, along with restriping on Milpas Street between Canon Perdido and Cota streets to restrict access to one lane in either direction with bike lanes.
Tuesday’s council meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at City Hall, at 735 Anacapa St. in Santa Barbara.