By Jorge Casuso
November 20, 2023 -- Less than one month after a bicyclist was killed by a car on 19th Street and Idaho Avenue, the City will install four-way stop signs at the dangerous intersection.
The stop signs -- along with “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” signage on 18th and 21st streets -- will be installed no later than November 28, City officials said.
"This is just the beginning of making our streets safer and would not be possible without the quick and dedicated work of our City team at the Department of Transportation," Councilmember Caroline Torosis wrote in her newsletter Sunday.
The announcement comes one week after the City Council directed staff to strengthen Santa Monica's commitment "to eliminate all fatal and severe-injury crashes" ("Council Takes Steps to Curb Collisions Involving Cyclists, Pedestrians," November 17, 2023).
The unusually swift action comes after more than 120 members of the public commented in person and in writing urging the Council to place four-way stop signs along Idaho and other busy Santa Monica streets.
Some of those who testified said they had lost family members and friends to traffic collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians.
They included the sister of Tania Mooser, whose fatal accident on October 27 prompted the Councilmember item.
"Tania was taking her daily ride," wrote Margaret Mason. "She was hit by a car. My sister is no longer with us due to this collision."
"We all must do everything we can to prevent fatal and severe injury crashes, and the solutions exist, so let’s implement them as soon as possible."
Michael Brodsky wrote, "This was a tragic week. Another one of our Santa Monica neighbors, Tania Mooser was killed on our city streets.
"This is not far from where my grand father, Charles Brodsky lived on Idaho Avenue and was killed while walking in a crosswalk at 10th and Wilshire. We must prioritize people’s safety on the streets."
Many of the letters addressed the number of children who use Idaho Avenue to walk and bike to Franklin Elementary School, as well as the number of near misses on the busy street.
"My family and I live on 19th and Idaho and have seen many close calls, speeding vehicles, and pets lost on this street over the 12 years we have lived here," wrote Jeanine Cornell.
Stephen Haydel, a resident of Boulder, Colorado, wrote that he regularly visits his grandkids, who live off of Idaho and 21st Street and "are learning how to walk, run and bike on the sidewalks in the neighborhood.
"I regularly follow them to Franklin Elementary School," Haydel wrote. "I am appalled that city engineers prioritized vehicle speed over safety of kids in this neighborhood."
At the November 14 Council meeting, Councilmember Jesse Zwick, who co-sponsored the item, echoed the concern.
"We have a lot of people who are using residential streets as thoroughfares to avoid traffic on our main arterials," he said, adding that other streets "need interventions as well."
While many have asked the City to do something about the problem, Zwick said, "those requests have been studied and been denied because we've prioritized getting people quickly in and out of our city."