Neighbors Continue Grassroots Campaign to Improve Traffic
Pershing Avenue in Midtown Stockton was once a quiet street with trees along both sides of the road. The beautiful Victory Park, an area well-loved by residents, sits next to the boulevard. It was a peaceful time as families with young children enjoyed a day at the park.
Today, the picture-perfect park day is a thing of the past. Since an off-ramp exit was added to the northbound Interstate 5 (I-5) onto Pershing Avenue, residents say the area has seen more traffic accidents, including pedestrian accidents.
Why Is Pershing Avenue Dangerous?
Vehicles have been funneling in from the busy highway directly into their neighborhood. Residents say drivers often speed through the street and sometimes lose control of their cars.
Now Pershing Avenue between Flora and the Harding Way has become a speedway, and residents say the city has no control of traffic. One neighbor said her front yard has been crashed into four times. Others said they have avoided going to the park out of fear of getting hit while crossing the street.
Residents Taking Back Their City
After a recent traffic accident involving a five-car-pileup on Pershing Avenue in 2021, residents decided to come together to make their city and neighborhood safer.
They formed an organization called “Friends for a Safe Pershing Avenue.” The group meets once a month at Victory Park to advocate for a safer Pershing Avenue, where they share ideas and gather information. This gives people a chance to meet their neighbors, sign a petition, and support the grassroots efforts for traffic improvement on Pershing Avenue.
Recent Improvements to Crosswalk
Neighbors celebrated a small victory last week when the city increased the walk signal on Pershing Avenue and Acacia Street to eleven seconds, giving pedestrians more time to cross the road.
The changes to the crosswalk came after residents raised money to buy a large banner reminding drivers of the 30 mph speed limit.
Further Traffic Safety Improvements
Community members say the slight improvement is an indication that the city is listening to their concerns. They hope the city will improve more safety by adding a traffic light at the Interstate 5 off-ramp near the Pershing exit because that is the only exit in town that does not have traffic control.
City officials confirmed more safety improvements are in the works after receiving a grant to install an advanced crosswalk light at Pershing Avenue and Rose Street. The HAWK signal will be installed within the next three years.
More police are patrolling the area, and the city has installed new speed limit signs. Caltrans is also inspecting the area and has reached out to residents for ideas to bring more improvements.
Residents Aim to Restore Their Neighborhood
Although minor changes have been made and neighbors are happy with the improvement, they say the city still has more work to make Pershing Avenue safer.
The group will continue its efforts for traffic improvement in their community. They said they knew this battle was a long-haul project, but they will not let go of the focus. Their goal is to continue their campaign to turn their neighborhood back to its state of peace and beauty.
Watch the YouTube Video below: The Record (Stockton, CA) video talks to Kevin Yates, who witnessed a dangerous accident at Pershing Avenue and Willow Road near Victory Park.
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