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After Tragic Road Deaths, City Leaders Vow to Make Streets Safer
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 2 years ago on
February 11, 2022

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On a day where the Fresno City Council recognized victims of traffic collisions, Mayor Jerry Dyer introduced several measures to make streets safer.

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David Taub

Politics 101

The inspiration: retired educator Paul Moore, who was killed while riding his bike on Jan. 12 near Woodward Park.

“Unfortunately, tragedies catch the attention of elected officials, myself included,” Dyer said at a Thursday afternoon news conference at the park. “And there’s a lot of things that I would have, could have, should have, when I was a police chief.

“I look back and say, boy, I wonder if I could have done that decision earlier if I would have saved a life. And those are the things that haunt elected officials.

“So I can’t go back in time in terms of why we didn’t do what we didn’t do. But I can tell you what we’re going to do and we’re going to do it now. We recognize the need and we’re addressing it now.”

Dyer, along with city councilmen Garry Bredefeld and Mike Karbassi, introduced several traffic mitigation measures. Some, such as placing reflective tape around traffic signals, were taking place contemporaneously.

“I look back and say, boy, I wonder if I could have done that decision earlier if I would have saved a life. And those are the things that haunt elected officials.” — Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer

Others include countdowns on pedestrian crossing signals, improved striping on crosswalks and bike lanes, roundabouts, and a series of traffic studies. Estimates for completion ranged from four months to four years.

Dyer also said the city will construct a free parking lot near the northwest corner of Friant and Fort Washington roads. The goal, Dyer said, is to reduce pedestrian traffic from cars parking in the neighborhoods east of Woodward Park and walking over to avoid the $5 automobile entrance fee.

A Fresno city worker applies reflective tape to a traffic light near Woodward Park. (GV Wire/Albert Baker)

Also in Politics 101: 

  • One councilman’s goal: no vehicle deaths.
  • Don’t be a litterhead!
  • Other council notes.

Goal: No Deaths

Karbassi endorsed the Vision Zero plan, where no more pedestrian and bicyclists deaths take place.

“That’s our goal. The acceptable rate is zero people lost. And until we get to that point, you’re going to see improvements like this throughout,” Karbassi said.

The city estimates 58 people died last year in Fresno because of traffic accidents.

During a ceremony in City Hall chambers, relatives and friends of three families who lost loved ones to Fresno traffic accidents, spoke.

“I believe the infrastructure surrounding Woodward Park is very unsafe. I ask the city to move quickly to make this area safe for all,” said Susan Smith, a friend of Moore’s family and a member of the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Several bicyclists attended the news conference, cheering with each announced improvement.

Diana Durham, the sister of Moore, also approved the proposals.

“I think it’s a start. I think the city has known for a while that they were on a path to catering to only cars,” Durham said. “They’ve known they needed to do something. They’ve just been stalling. And now they’ve started to pay attention.”

Durham is also asking for witnesses to her brother’s death to step forward.

Sheryl Bavoso shows off a wristband for cyclist Paul Moore, who was killed by a motorist last month. (GV Wire/Albert Baker)

Don’t Be a Litterhead

Beautify Fresno has been one of Dyer’s most successful programs. Now, the city is rolling out a media campaign to keep Fresno litter-free.

With a $100,000 budget approved by the city council last year, the “Don’t Be a Litterhead” message will be across several platforms, including billboards, buses, and TV.

Other City Notes

— After more than an hour of speakers mostly against, the Fresno City Council voted 7-0 to support measures to limit access to the public when code enforcement engages in removal of trash on private property. Several homeless advocates said it could limit their right to be on hand to help. An amendment was carved out to protect those rights.

— The City Council pushed back for one week, approving a hiring plan from the mayor’s office that would add 107 positions to the city. Councilman Tyler Maxwell wanted another week to analyze the positions and the costs. Among the requests — two new deputy city managers to help handle $300 million in total federal relief funds.

— By a 4-2 vote, the City Council approves expanding a speed bump program from pilot to city-wide. Certain criteria apply, such as the speed limit on the street and whether curbs and gutters are in place. Garry Bredefeld wanted to keep a provision to allow private citizens to pay for speed bumps on their streets, but that was rejected. Bredefeld and Mike Karbassi voted against the speed bump measure; Luis Chavez was absent for that vote.

 

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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