The push is on for a stoplight in front of Laguna College of Art + Design.
The college’s president and a nearby building owner petitioned Caltrans to install a traffic signal where the current crosswalk — which only has flashing lights — sits in front of the main campus at 2222 Laguna Canyon Road.
“I’ve witnessed a number of fender benders,” LCAD President Jonathan Burke said. “No one has been hurt, but there have been damaged cars.”
Burke is working with a consultant in hopes of getting a traffic light installed at the two-lane road.
“Cars are moving at a high rate of speed,” Burke said. “I don’t think everyone notices [the crosswalk with flashing lights] until the last minute.”
The college has buildings at different spots along Laguna Canyon Road. Shuttles are available for students.
“We ask students to take the shuttle,” Burke said. “We also encourage students to drive because we have ample parking at the east campus [across Laguna Canyon Road from the main campus].”
Carole Urie-Chickering thinks more needs to be done than just the flashing crosswalk lights to ensure pedestrians’ safety.
“I would like to see all students alive,” said Urie-Chickering, who has owned a building across Laguna Canyon Road from LCAD’s main campus since 2004.
Urie-Chickering wrote a letter earlier this year:
“I just witnessed what could have been a death at the blinking pedestrian crossing north of Laguna College of Art + Design. I was traveling south, the lights were blinking at the crossing, and a student entered the crosswalk on my side of the street. Unfortunately, the car traveling in the opposite direction either did not see the blinking lights because of the sun or did not see the student, but raced through the crosswalk.
“Student safe, this time.”
Urie-Chickering said the crosswalk’s flashing lights are not always easily visible depending on the time of day.
“I see people barreling through there all the time,” she said.
LCAD student Jessica Necor also favors a light at the crosswalk.
“Sometimes people don’t stop when the lights are flashing,” Necor said. “It’s scary at night when you’re trying to cross the street.
“A light would be good, though it would be a hassle for people driving,” she added.
Caltrans is reviewing Urie-Chickering’s letter, said agency spokesman David Richardson. Reviews can take 90 days, he said.
The near-misses at the crosswalk are just that, according to Laguna Beach police.
“We went through the accident reports and cannot find any at the location of that crosswalk at LCAD,” Capt. Jason Kravetz wrote in an email.
The reports include vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian collisions, he said.