PS Businesses Fault City for Rise in Pedestrian Deaths

Jessica Flores

PS Businesses Fault City for Rise in Pedestrian Deaths

CREATED Feb. 28, 2012

PALM SPRINGS- Pedestrian collisions are up this year in Palm Springs. The recent death of an elderly couple at Palm Canyon Drive has local business asking the city to do more to keep the streets safe.

Lorraine and Robert Mathiasen, both in their 80s, were crossing the Palm Drive between Vista Chino and Escuela. The section of the street curves, and there are no crosswalks or lights.  The couple was visiting for a World War II reunion at the Palm Springs Air Museum, but they never made it.

The owner of Risk's restaurant says in the 27 years his restaurant has been on the street, he's seen 6-8 people get hit or die crossing the street.

 "I understand he [Mathiasen] was J-Walking, but too many people here are doing the same thing and we are ending up with the same problem," said  Rick Seidner, owner of Rick's Restaurant.

Seidner and other business owners in the area want the city to install flashing yellow lights to warn drivers to slow down.

"The city prides itself on being able to have dark skies, stars visible throughout the city for an ambiance, and that causes some areas of the roadways that are extra dark," said Sgt. Paul Abshire, with the Palm Springs Police. 

This year four pedestrians have been killed in crashes. In this latest crash the driver is cooperating with police.
"At this point we don't have any reason to believe that drugs or alcohol were involved or that he was at fault," said Abshire.

There are some ways pedestrians can help prevent these tragedies.

"Definitely obey the laws, and that includes crossing only at cross walks. If they are walking at night time, they should wear something light in color, something possibly with reflectors clothing," said Abshire.

But many business owners along the bend, fault the city for not making the road safer to walk across.

"I think that we need to do something before it gets to the point where we are going to get a reputation, a bad reputation when people come on vacation," said Seidner.