Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correctly reflect the spelling of Barbara Kilian’s name.
STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) – Neighbors of Victory Park in midtown Stockton celebrated a small victory they said will make their street safer.
For years, a group of residents had complained about crashes near the park along Pershing Avenue. Neighbors said they’re happy with the improvement, but added the city still has more work to do to make Pershing Avenue safe.
Barbara Kilian, who lives nearby, said crossing Pershing Avenue can be dangerous.
“You’re taking your life in your hands practically,” Kilian said.
“I’ve seen the close calls, yes,” Kilian continued. “As far as pedestrians being struck, some of my neighbors have seen them.”
Kilian said drivers often speed through the street and has seen first hand what happens when they lose control.
“My front yard has been assaulted four times where they knock down the wall, knock down the plants, because I hear a loud crash,” Kilian said. “I come out the front door and there’s a car in my front yard.”
Katya Evanhoe, a member of Friends for a Safe Pershing Avenue, is currently working with the city to make the street safer.
“Pershing Avenue between Flora and the Harding Way has become a speedway,” Evanhoe said. “It’s like the wild, Wild West.”
Recently, city traffic engineers reprogramed the pedestrian signal on Acacia Street and Pershing Avenue to give people more time to cross.
“Eleven seconds of feeling a little safer about crossing over,” Evanhoe said. “And it’s also teaching the vehicles that it’s not just about vehicle passage but pedestrians too.”
“It means I can now cross the street because I’m slow as a tortoise,” Kilian continued.
Neighbors said it’s a small change, but it’s also a sign the city is listening to their concerns.
“Hopefully, we can get this so that it’s back to a neighborhood more than an expressway or a speedway,” Evanhoe said.
To further improve safety, neighbors said more needs to be done including adding a light at the Interstate 5 off-ramp near Pershing.
“Pershing Avenue exit off I-5 is the only exit in all of Stockton that does not have traffic control,” Evanhoe said.
As they wait for more changes for a safer street, neighbors have a message for drivers.
“Drive like your kids live here,” Evanhoe said.
“Slow down Stockton,” Kilian added. “You can’t be in that big of a hurry.”
City officials said more safety improvements are coming and the city of Stockton recently received grant funding to install an advanced crosswalk light at Rose Street and Pershing Avenue.