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City promises upgrades after residents complain of unsafe crosswalk at new Target store

City promises upgrades after residents complain of unsafe crosswalk at new Target store
A Target shopper heads to his car using the crosswalk. After a complaint was posted on Facebook, Mayor Pro Tem Len Pieroni escalated it and learned from city officials upgrades that were supposed to be made before Target opened in October were never put into place. (Raul Roa / La Cañada Valley Sun)

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.

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“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.

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“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, and that the oversight was only recently discovered.

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.

When it came to the city’s attention the agreed upon installation hadn’t been made by the specified deadline, DeChellis said a temporary certificate of occupancy was granted allowing the store to continue operating while the crosswalk improvements were executed.

Plans for the installation were approved last week 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.”

When Target proposed moving into the property, owned by La Cañada’s IDS Real Estate Group, the city’s 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 Tuesday, 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.

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