Just a few months ago, it was a dangerous quest for Bryan De Simas, a disabled senior, to cross the intersection at Stevens and Palm Canyon Drive in Uptown Palm Springs.
“Just yesterday, I was in the crosswalk and a car came through going 50 mph, just zipping through…. not even slowing down,” said De Simas back in October.
It wasn’t just pedestrians who noticed the danger, but drivers also.
“There needs to be some more improvements to make the city pedestrian friendly,” said Bill Kidney, a driver in the area.
Since our previous report in October, De Simas says the city of Palm Springs has made a few small, but major changes that make his commute a lot safer.
“Well the amazing thing is when I used the cross walk recently, I noticed they embedded lights all throughout the street and that really shows the fact that you need to stop or pay attention to the cross walk,” said De Simas. “It really helped a lot. And to do it so quickly after our first story- it just amazed me.”
The notorious intersection had only two flashing signs on the sidewalks that pedestrians and drivers say were barely noticeable. Now flashing yellow lights line the crosswalk, cautioning drivers of crossing pedestrians. De Simas says the bright yellow lights get washed out from the beaming sun during the day making it difficult to notice, but still, he says they’re better than nothing.
“I feel a lot safer, I feel like people do notice it and slow down,” said De Simas. “I think people are still confused as to what to do with these yellow flashing lights. They’re so bright and so noticeable, so they know they gotta do something so they do slow down, especially if you’re in the crosswalk they do pay attention to it.”
He hopes the city will continue to make additional improvements to pedestrian safety by enforcing traffic officers and making sidewalks handicap accessible.
“They fix things, they’re very quick on it,” said De Simas. “And as far as putting in new sidewalks and taking care of these sandtraps that are in the middle of the sidewalk, they haven’t done that, but it’s amazing what they have done.”
The city of Palm Springs said in a statement, “For the past year, the City of Palm Springs has been diligently working on our Pedestrian Safety Master Plan with the goal of improving safety for our residents and visitors. We are gratified to learn that these efforts have been noticed and are appreciated. With that in mind, Palm Springs recently completed a Citywide speed survey and decreased speed limits along many streets. In addition, we continue look at other measures that will improve pedestrian safety.”