City officials are promising improvements will soon be made near the entrance of the new Target store in La Cañada’s Town Center, after residents complained on social media about unsafe conditions and near-miss accidents in the store’s crosswalk.
In a Sunday Facebook post on the La Cañada Flintridge Parents page, mom Mary Perkins said her daughter, Paige, was nearly hit by a car the evening before as she attempted to enter the store.
“There are no lights outside that Target or speed bumps,” Perkins warned residents. “We need to request better lighting outside and demand that speed bumps be added.”
That complaint was escalated by Mayor Pro Tem Len Pieroni, who contacted the city’s Public Works director Sunday to learn more about the situation.
“When I read about it on Facebook over the weekend and saw how upset people were I thought that’s something we should follow up on,” Pieroni said. “It’s good somebody brought it up.”
Pieroni learned from city officials upgrades that were supposed to be made before Target opened in October were never put into place.
Pat DeChellis, the city’s public works director, confirmed Monday the city had added a condition to Target’s conditional use permit requiring rectangular rapid flashing beacon lights on the crosswalk — which could be activated by pedestrians attempting to cross Town Center Drive — be installed before the store’s Oct. 21 grand opening.
According to information provided by city officials, the added condition was made in March.
When it came to the city’s attention the agreed upon installation wouldn’t be completed by the store’s opening day, DeChellis said a temporary certificate of occupancy was granted allowing the store to continue operating while the crosswalk improvements were executed.
City officials say Target made an agreement on Oct. 12 that flashing beacon lights would be installed by Dec. 31. On Oct. 25, store officials submitted upgrade plans to the city that were reviewed and returned for refinement.
Plans for the installation were approved Nov. 27 on the condition that Target apply for an encroachment permit, and the city should soon receive a construction schedule detailing the timeline for completion, the director added.
“This was in progress before they opened their front door,” DeChellis said. “[Now] we’re asking for a schedule as part of their permit, and we’re waiting to hear back from them.”
As of Dec. 7, city officials said they were still waiting for an encroachment permit application and the construction timeline from Target. A deposit made to the city will cover the cost of the installation in the event store officials are not able to construct the beacon lights by the Dec. 31 deadline.
When Target proposed moving into the property, owned by La Cañada’s IDS Real Estate Group, the city Planning Department stipulated a parking and traffic analysis would be conducted six months after opening day and be reviewed by the Planning Commission.
In a City Council meeting Dec. 4, Pieroni asked whether that review might also cover the crosswalk area.
“If we could include some kind of summary or observations, that would be great,” he said.
DeChellis said the city’s traffic engineer might arrange observations of the crosswalk to see if the impending improvements, once installed, are effective.