Saturday evening’s death of a pedestrian after she was struck by a car has stirred concerns in Hamilton’s Lindenwald neighborhood about traffic speeds and safety along Laurel Avenue.
Now, some residents are considering starting a petition to request the installation of stop signs and the elimination of on-street parking along the highly traveled roadway.
Rebecca Lynn Evans, 37, of Fairfield, was was crossing the street at the intersection of Elmo and Laurel to visit a home when she was struck by a Toyota Corolla driven by a Hamilton man on his way to work.
Evans, who was a 1997 Hamilton High School graduate and a pharmacy technician at Kroger, is survived by her son.
Police have said speed was not a factor and the driver was not impaired. Instead, the factors leading to the crash were believed to be the woman’s dark clothing, nightfall and rain.
Some Lindenwald residents also suspect the parked vehicles along the edge of the narrow street contributed to the driver’s inability to see Evans.
“People are a little concerned,” said Frank Downie, a leader of Lindenwald’s neighborhood association, PROTOCOL (People Reaching Out To Others: Celebrating Our Lindenwald). “From time to time, we’ve always had people talking about traffic being parked on that particular street.”
“It’s pretty heavily traveled — it pretty much connects River Road with Pleasant Avenue — and it’s a narrow street,” he said. “It really is.”
People who park on the street, “are constantly getting their mirrors taken off or things like that, because of the width of the street,” Downie said.
Laurel Avenue resident Doug Abbott is among those who are concerned.
“This isn’t the first time someone has been struck by a vehicle in front of my house, but it is the first death since I lived there,” said Abbott, who will live there three years this January.
In just about the past month, two people have been hit by vehicles in the same immediate area. One male pedestrian was able to walk away, he said. A neighbor told him of another non-fatal pedestrian incident that happened before he moved in.
“Just knowing that people are getting hit 20 feet from where I sleep is incredibly unsettling,” Abbott said. “It’s not a comfortable feeling.”
Motorcycles and vehicles drive Laurel at incredibly high speeds in warm weather, he said.
“Pulling out of my driveway, I look back and forth like 30 times,” Abbott said. “I’ve almost developed some weird, obsessive habit of checking back and forth, back and forth, because sometimes I don’t see anything until they’re right up on me.”
On a nearby side street just off Laurel a few months ago, one car drove so close to a parked vehicle that both their mirrors exploded while Abbott was about 15 feet away, he said. Abbott says people also park too close to intersections, making visibility all the more problematic.
While police said speed was not a factor in Saturday evening’s incident, “I would love to see something done about the speeding on our road — it’s a 25 mph zone and people go at least 50. In the summer, with motorcycles, people go by so fast all you can see is a blur of color,” Abbott said.
Downie wonders whether parked cars along the street may have contributed to the weekend’s fatal accident.
“I’m just wondering if (the lack of parked cards) wouldn’t have opened up that field of vision (of the car’s driver),” he said. “Instead of seeing cars parked on the road, you’d see from the middle of the road possibly all the way up to the house.”
Abbott said he isn’t sure stop signs would slow traffic, and he knows police can’t patrol the street all the time. But he believes speed humps or bumps would help, along with a ban on parking.
Downie hopes the topic will be discussed at the next PROTOCOL meeting, which will take place Jan. 16 at the Heaven Sent coffee shop, 2269 Pleasant Ave. Those wanting more information about the meeting, including its start time, can contact Downie at email@example.com.
If residents request a traffic study to determine the best ways to improve safety on a street, city Public Works Director Rich Engle said either City Council or the city manager can direct his department to conduct one.
In the meantime, Downie notes people can express concerns about traffic safety by going to the city’s website, www.hamilton-city.org. They then can click on the “311 Service Requests” area at the bottom of the page, and then, under the “Police” area, fill in “Report a traffic concern.”
Evans’ funeral arrangements are being handled by Avance Funeral Home & Crematory, 4976 Winton Road, in Fairfield. Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. Her funeral service will be 10 a.m. Friday at the funeral home, with burial following the service at Rose Hill Burial Park.
The family asks that instead of flowers, donations may be made at any Fifth Third Bank to benefit Evans’ son.
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