Skyler Lee Kim's grandmother presented a petition with about 300 signatures to the city Assembly Monday night seeking changes to an intersection where Kim and another resident were killed in the past three months.
Meanwhile, Bruce Botelho was sworn in as mayor Monday night and David Stone and Dan Peterson were sworn is as Assembly members. They each have three-year terms.
Kim's grandmother, Arlene Crumrine, wants the Assembly to apply pressure to the state Department of Transportation to change the traffic patterns at the intersection of Stephen Richards Memorial Drive and Mendenhall Loop Road. The petition asks that the intersection "be designated a school zone with proper lights and traffic signals and be constructed for the safety of children and other pedestrians." Crumrine said she plans to enlist many more petition supporters via e-mail and send them to the Assembly.
Kim, 10, was killed at the intersection Oct. 20 while riding his bicycle from the southwest corner of the intersection to Glacier Valley Elementary School, where he was a fifth grader. On July 22, Paulette Alden, 49, died at the intersection after her Ford Escort collided with a dump truck.
While Kim was at fault, the group told the Assembly that the intersection is dangerous nonetheless. No green arrows exist on the traffic lights from Stephen Richards to Loop Road and from Stephen Richards to Haloff Way. This means that pedestrians in crosswalks are getting the OK to cross at the same time vehicles are getting a green light. Some vehicles are trying to turn left and beat the light before it turns red.
"That intersection is probably the most dangerous intersection in Juneau," said Regan Tweedy, the who lives on Tongass Blvd. near the intersection.
Tweedy, a juvenile probation officer at Johnson Youth Center, said she sees near-miss collisions there daily.
"They are sending these kids into a war zone to get to school," Tweedy said.
Jan-Marie Bearfield of Tongass Blvd. said she witnessed atwo-vehicle collision at the intersection in 2000. Bearfield is good friends with Kims mother, Christine Judson. They work at Fred Meyer where co-workers have donated their leave time so Judson can grieve, Bearfield said.
Louise Seligmann of Tongass Blvd., who uses a walker, got caught in the middle of a crosswalk at the intersection recently because the crossing signal had changed, she said. The timing of the crosswalk is too short and jeopardizes the safety of pedestrians, she said. Seligmann pleaded with the Assembly to get the traffic pattern of the intersection changed. Please, please be creative and not be rubber stampers, she said.
Children and motorists will likely be more cautious for the next month and then revert back to their normal ways, the group said. Meanwhile, inclement weather is approaching and the days are getting darker, making it more difficult for motorists to see pedestrians, they said.
Tara Sidor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.