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Death of Teen Spurs Crosswalk Debate
by Michelle R. Brown
Students and friends of Alice Zhang petitioned Council Members and the Mayor at this week’s City Council Meeting for support of the ForAlice Movement, and their goal of changing the crosswalk on West Duarte Road where Alice was killed. The movement, which was created following the tragic death of 16 year old Alice Zhang, is asking for a public hearing to discuss potential changes to the crosswalk, support, and ideas.
Though there are a number of concerns regarding the logistics of such a move, which would cost at least $60,000 according to City Engineer Philip A. Wray, the group is committed to bringing about this change. “All pales in comparison to what we lost, who we lost that day.” Utthara Rameshbabu said. Rameshbabu was joined by Lixing Chang, Albert Hu, and Shannon Cao, all students of Arcadia High School where Alice was a student.
The students began by expressing concerns and their own experiences of the crosswalk, which is located at the 600 block of West Duarte Road. They presented council members with photos and stories of how they too had difficulty crossing that intersection. Their suggestions for improvement included adding a red light to the intersection, which currently only has a flashing yellow light system; an auditory alert saying “walk sign is on;” and moving the entire crosswalk to Lovell Avenue.
Arcadia Mayor Gary Kovacic responded to the group, offered to meet with them, and suggested that a memorial be built for Alice. City Manager Don Penman also pointed out that the accident is part of an ongoing investigation, and no change to the crosswalk can be made until the official police report is complete.
Alice and a friend were crossing West Duarte Road when they were both hit by a car driven by a 20 year old Arcadian man. Alice was killed almost instantly, and the friend was transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital as a result of serious injuries. Sunlight and other conditions may have played a role in the collision, and so far no arrests have been made.
ForAlice members have drawn up a petition, which can be found on their Facebook page, or their forum, http://foralice.forumsmotions.com. At this time no date has been set for a public hearing.