A safer street
In a walking town with a four-lane highway running through it, keeping pedestrians and vehicles separated is an ongoing challenge.
So a North Shore community group is looking at ways to make Kings Beach safer for those on foot by adding crosswalks, extending curbs and having pedestrians use bright-colored flags to cross the street.
There have been four serious accidents in Kings Beach involving pedestrians and cars since 2004, according to CHP Officer Steve Skeen. All of the accidents occurred after 6 p.m., he said. Three of the incidents were at Highway 28 and Fox St., and another at Highway 28 and Bear St. One of the accidents was fatal.
Those in attendance at a meeting Thursday on the safety issue said they thought speeding was the biggest problem, with people commuting to and from Incline Village the main culprits. Many said that a local education campaign would help.
“I hate to say it, but the worst offenders of speed are locals,” said Pam Lefrancois. “It does seem that speeding has a lot to do with pedestrian safety.”
Skeen said that CHP plans to have him on a motorcycle during the summer monitoring traffic and tracking down speeders in Kings Beach. He also said speed trailers that show drivers how fast they are traveling can temporarily be placed on Highway 28, as long as a business or property owner offers their land and will watch the trailer.
Other suggestions included adding curb extensions and putting flags in buckets on either side of crosswalks for pedestrians to use, which would require permits from Caltrans and Placer County.
Jim Brake, who handles safety concerns for Caltrans, said the flag idea was implemented in Kings Beach 20 years ago, but was unsuccessful because children paid more attention to the pink flags flapping in the wind than to the traffic. Brake said if the flags had reflective tape and were sturdier, then the idea could work. He said there could be a trial period to see if the concept could be effective in Kings Beach.
Ron Treabess suggested adding officers at crosswalks to stop traffic, giving the example of a Placer County deputy who stands at the Fanny Bridge crosswalk in Tahoe City in the summer.
Brake said adding crosswalks could help, but noted that parking would have to be eliminated in those spots.
The group said it would like to see some of the ideas implemented by the summer, and the agency representatives said they would look into the feasibility and obtain permits for the projects.
What the experts say pedestrians should do to make crossing the street safer:
“They need to wear bright clothing at night. They should wear something reflective.
Watch both ways. Make sure traffic sees you.”
Deputy Dave Hunt, Placer County Sheriff’s community services officer
“Make eye contact with cars. It’s about safety, safety, safety. A pedestrian never wins against a car.”
California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Skeen
“Yield to the traffic. Watch for hazards before they happen.”
Lt. John Savage, Placer County Sheriff’s Office
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