An epidemic of serious pedestrian injuries outside of a Fremont hospital has prompted an East Bay legislator to introduce legislation that she hopes will make crossing the street to visit the hospital a little safer.
Civic Center Drive in Fremont, CA bisecting parking and transit stops from Washington Hospital has long been a trouble spot for employees, patients and visitors of the hospital. Civic Center Drive is one of the main access roads for the 2000+ parking spaces at the Fremont BART station located just north of Washington Hospital. The 85th percentile speed on this 30 MPH speed limit road is 34 MPH, according to city of Fremont traffic surveys. With 1900 employees at the hospital and a constant flow of visitors and patients crossing Civic Center Drive on a constant basis, even 30 MPH is likely too high. In 2005, the city of Fremont reluctantly installed a crosswalk at hospital expense, but the problems continued as you can see from this 2007 video by KRON’s Stanely Roberts.
From August 2012 to September 2013, five people have been injured, four of them seriously, in this crosswalk. Two of those collisions involved hospital employees. The state nursing union notes that “It is unacceptable to have a person seek our care because they were injured just outside that very door!”
Hospital leaders submitted a petition to the Fremont city council last October, asking the city to install a traffic signal to protect pedestrians at this crosswalk. As far as I can figure out, the city so far as not responded.
California Senator Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) has now introduced SB 1287, which would allow Washington Hospital to employ crossing guards to protect people who just want to cross the road.
It’s apparently unclear under current state law if health districts can employ crossing guards. This bill explicitly authorizes Washington Hospital to use crossing guards. People who disregard the directions of a crossing guard a guilty of an infraction, which can result in a fine of at least $50 for a first offense up to $500 for subsequent convictions.
The Streetview screenshot up there shows a driver on his cell phone zooming through the crosswalk on Civic Center Drive.