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Intersection In Southeastern San Diego Finally Gets Crosswalk

Photo by Nicholas McVicker / KPBS

Above: City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez, second from right, cuts a ribbon at the celebration of a newly installed crosswalk in the Mount Hope neighborhood, March 7, 2017.

City officials have installed a crosswalk at an intersection in the Mount Hope neighborhood after months of lobbying from residents and business owners. Activists are hoping it will serve as a catalyst for more neighborhood engagement.

Traffic is zooming along like normal at Market and Denby streets in the Mount Hope neighborhood, but pedestrians trying to cross the busy intersection now have things a bit easier. After nearly a year of lobbying, residents and business owners got the city to install a crosswalk with flashing lights.

About two dozen people showed up for a celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday evening. Among them was Diane Moss, CEO of the nonprofit Project New Village, which promotes wellness in southeastern San Diego. She said she hopes the crosswalk is just the start.

"If you go two blocks down we probably need another crosswalk there," Moss said. "Some of the eateries were saying, 'Well this intersection is one intersection, but what about right here?' ... It's got people talking about what can be done if we work together, and we work with the right folks to make change."

RELATED: 'Vision Zero' Traffic Safety Goals: Achievable or Aspirational?

Video by Nicholas Mcvicker

Moss is working to establish a "good food district" in the Mount Hope neighborhood, where access to fresh produce is limited. The lack of pedestrian safety infrastructure in the neighborhood has emerged as an unexpected barrier to that good food district's success.

Janice Hernandez, co-owner of a small minimarket at the intersection, said she expected the newly installed crosswalk to be good for business because many of her customers arrive on foot.

"I think it will help a little bit, because everybody will start noticing that, hey, it's not as hard to cross that crosswalk," she said. "We're able to get there without getting ourselves killed or hit."

Earlier this week, the San Diego City Council accepted an audit of the city's pedestrian safety program. The audit found the city was not making basic improvements to its most dangerous intersections.

The mayor's office said it is implementing the audit's recommendations and is in the process of upgrading safety features at 15 intersections where pedestrians are most likely to get hit by cars. The audit did not focus on intersections without stoplights, like the one at Market and Denby streets.

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