FOSTER CITY -- A 17-year-old girl remained hospitalized in intensive care Tuesday after being hit by a car on her way to school, an accident that prompted city leaders and residents to call for increased safety measures in and around the precarious intersection.
The teen, a Foster City resident who has not been identified, was headed to meet her carpool at 6:49 a.m. Friday when she was hit by a 2014 BMW 528i while crossing Edgewater Boulevard at Port Royal, Foster City police Capt. Joe Pierucci said. She was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit at Stanford Medical Center, where she remains in stable condition.
The driver of the BMW, who is not being identified at this time, stayed on scene and cooperated with investigators, and is not suspected to have been under the influence.
The accident prompted residents and city leaders to repeat long-standing concerns about the intersection, which has stop signs on the quieter of the four corners, the two on Port Royal. There are no stop signs on the Edgewater approach despite it being the busier street with a 40 mph speed limit, and there are no flashing lights at the crosswalks -- only pedestrian warning signs and white paint telling drivers to slow down.
Pierucci noted of the 39 injury collisions that occurred in Foster City last year, four involved pedestrians, none of them occurred at that intersection. Even so, police conducted a series of sting operations in which authorities would watch as a plain-clothed officer crossed Edgewater, and then cite the drivers who did not yield to the officer appropriately.
Police said the last injury collision at the intersection happened in 2007, when a car turning from Port Royal onto Edgewater clipped a driver who was going straight on Port Royal; one of the drivers reported a minor head bump. The last pedestrian injured by a vehicle was in 2001, when a 13-year-old skateboarder was struck by a driver who was found to be intoxicated.
City Councilman Herb Perez, a former Olympic champion who owns a martial arts studio at adjacent Edgewater Place Shopping Center, believes the city should not have to wait for a tragedy to occur to abate the dangers of a precarious location.
"I think we can do better to ensure the safety of our pedestrians and motorists," Perez said.
Perez, along with hundreds of other parents and children who cross the intersection daily, has seen firsthand the dangers of crossing the street to get to schools, parks and other activities near the busiest shopping center in the city. In the immediate vicinity alone, there is Perez's Taekwondo studio, a gymnastics center, a day care, two tutoring centers, three parks, a church, a synogogue and Foster City Elementary School, which nearly 1,000 students attend.
Add to that several restaurants and a supermarket, Perez said, and you've got a recipe for a potential tragedy.
"We're talking about a ridiculous amount of children within the span of a block," Perez said. He added he is committed to seeing either a stop sign or a traffic light installed at the intersection for the public's safety.
Foster City resident Bala Ganeshan, who has lived near the intersection for the past three years, said he would like to see the city remove the pedestrian walkway in favor of a four-way stop, or at the very least, install a flashing red light to activate when pedestrians cross.
"Every time I pass through the intersection I have butterflies in my stomach," Ganeshan said. "It is very hard to see pedestrians particularly when there are a lot of cars, and since it is a perfectly legal crossing, pedestrians also tend to be cavalier about stepping on to the road."
"I am surprised it took so long for the accident to occur," Ganeshan added. "I hope the accident acts as a trigger to fix this festering problem."
The issue will be presented before the city council at a meeting Feb. 3, where Perez will recuse himself from voting on the issue and will speak before the council as a resident. The council will then vote on whether to introduce a stop sign or stoplight to the intersection, or whether to reduce the speed limit to 25 mph like on Palo Alto's Embarcadero Road.
"We'd be left with a Palo Alto solution of 25 mph, which is a little extreme but also incredibly safe," Perez said. "A traffic light is the best solution because it can be timed, because people who see traffic lights tend to stop, and because pedestrians will wait for the light to change before they cross the street."
"Personal responsibility goes a long way, but if we can institute additional safety legislation, that's great," Perez said. "That's incumbent upon us."