ELYSIAN VALLEY -- The intersection of Riverside Drive and Newell Street already has painted crosswalks and traffic signals. But the city is now adding more safety features to the busy intersection in the wake of a crash earlier this year that left a 17-year-old pedestrian dead.
Christian Vega was in the crosswalk on the night of February 27 when he was struck by a Toyota Camry. The driver told investigators that she had a green traffic light when she drove into the intersection and struck the pedestrian, who then landed on the hood of her vehicle before falling onto the street.
A video showed that Vega was crossing against the flashing "Don't Walk" sign as the driver had the green light, said Detective Juan Campos with the LAPD Central Traffic Division. As a result, the driver was not at fault, he said.
The deadly crash has triggered vigils and protests by residents and activists demanding that drivers slow down and more be done to increase safety along Riverside Drive. In fact, an outdoor memorial to Vega was damaged after car jumped the curb at the same intersection, according to posts on Twitter.
Devastatingly sad vigil for Christian Vega, college-bound 17 year old Elysian Valley resident. This corner of Riverside Drive and Newell is designed so deadly that even Chrisitian’s memorial was hit this morning by a speeding driver who jumped the curb. #LAgrimStreets #LA0 pic.twitter.com/XxZXKtseZz— daveedkapoor (@daveedkapoor) March 25, 2019
A few weeks after the crash a spokesperson with the L.A. Department of Transportation told The Eastsider that the department would be upgrading the intersection with new safety features that include:
- Protected left turn signal phasing for southbound Riverside Drive onto Newell Street. This will separate vehicles making the left turn from pedestrians crossing Newell Street.
- High visibility continental crosswalks This will increase the awareness of pedestrians for drivers at the intersection.
- Installation of Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) to give pedestrians a head start when the signal changes to green for a particular direction.
The LADOT is also evaluating additional signal timing and roadway striping changes.
What else needs to be done to make this intersection safer?
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