Flashing LED Lights Coming Soon to South Whittier Crosswalk where Middle School Student was hit by car
South Whittier, CA– Today, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn announced that new safety features will be installed at a crosswalk in unincorporated South Whittier where a middle school student named Oliver Maldonado was hit by a car in April. Supervisor Hahn credits Oliver’s friends and classmates at Graves Middle School with bringing the dangerous intersection to the County’s attention and demanding action.
Oliver was on his bike using the crosswalk on Meyer Road at Fidel Avenue near Amelia Mayberry County Park on April 18 at 8 pm when he was hit by a car. While he sustained critical injuries, he is now on the road to recovery. Last month, twenty-five of Oliver’s friends and classmates wrote letters to Supervisor Hahn explaining their concerns about the dangers posed by the crosswalk where he was hit, and asking for something to be done.
“I am so impressed by these young people. They saw what happened to their classmate, recognized the problem, and decided to do something about it,” said Supervisor Hahn. “This crosswalk has been proven to be too dangerous, especially given how close it is to a County park and how many kids use it every day. I have instructed the Department of Public Works to install new lighting and safety features and to do so as quickly as possible.”
At the Supervisor’s request, the Department of Public Works completed a traffic study at the intersection and concluded the crosswalk is indeed dangerous. New flashing overhead LED lighting will be installed to improve safety and visibility. The project is being expedited at the Supervisor’s request. The project will be designed this summer with construction beginning in November and the project completed in January 2019.
Three students from Graves Middle School testified at this week’s Board of Supervisors meeting about their concerns about the crosswalk. They also had a chance to tour the Supervisor’s office and met with the Department of Public Works.
“Children are our future and to protect them is our greatest responsibility,” said Andrea Prillwitz, a student who testified at the meeting. “So by fixing this, you will not only be doing good for the community but doing good for future generations to come.”
“We are really proud of the citizens in this area who are speaking up and wanting to see something done about what has become a fairly dangerous intersection,” said Mark Pestrella. Pestrella also invited the students who testified to help design the crosswalk project as part of the Department’s “Junior Engineers” program which gives young people hands on experience in careers in STEM fields.
“This is a school-wide effort and as the principal, when I heard about the young man being hit in the crosswalk and being that I am a father of four, this became very personal for me,” said Principal of Graves Middle School Matthew Frajilo who also spoke at today’s meeting. “I just want to take the opportunity to thank Supervisor Janice Hahn…we are thrilled that this process is going to be expedited.”