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Neighborhood Discusses Ways to Improve Freeport Boulevard Safety

SACRAMENTO -- The intersection of Freeport Boulevard and Oregon Drive where a grandmother and young boy were hit by a car last month used to have a crosswalk.

The City of Sacramento removed it in December citing federal studies that suggest having a crosswalk without a traffic signal is more dangerous than not having a crosswalk at all. Although city officials say having that crosswalk there likely wouldn't have prevented February's tragic accident, the decision still doesn't sit well with long-time residents.

"I've lived in the neighborhood since I was nine years old and there's always been a crosswalk there. I don't understand why there's crosswalks all over Freeport Boulevard leading to nowhere because there's no stores and this particular crosswalk that's between four elementary schools was taken out without any neighborhood input," Hollywood Park resident Norma Minas said Thursday, at a community meeting about Freeport safety.

Community members are frustrated and city leaders are listening. They say the short-term plan is for the city and Sacramento City Unified School District to work together to educate parents students and staff at area schools about safe routes they can take if walking to school.

The city says adding a traffic signal is also on the table.

The long-term plan will likely cost millions and take years to complete, but City Councilman Steve Hansen says a complete overhaul of Freeport is what will make the biggest difference.

"Look at re-engineering the street so cars slow down, bikes and pedestrians are treated with the same respect," Hansen said. "This street was designed to be a highway and it still functions as a highway, even though the neighborhood around it has changed."

For now, education will be key. The school district says countless injuries and fatalities can be avoided if people are just more aware of their surroundings and make safer choices with their routes.