By MATTHEW KRISTOFFERSON
The flickering candle lights look like stars from a distance, joined in an unorderly constellation that stretches to heaven and back. The wind chills even the warmest of hearts; the tears don’t cease. It is August 21, 1985– the day before DeAnza’s first day of her junior year in high school. The day my aunt died in a car crash. A green light, yet the turn never finished — the only protection she had from the other driver was the door beside which she sat. Three teenagers lost their lives that night, and countless others lost the opportunity to ever see their daughter, sister, or friend again. Could this horrific event have been prevented by a left-turn light?
32 years and over 1 million road fatalities later, the same question remains etched into our psyche like the words on a tombstone. The site of thousands of last living moments are driven over each day, their mortal departure desecrated by the skid marks of another soon-to-be statistic. Intersections across America are reality’s Final Destination– and very little is done to fix this. Redlands is not unique. Several locations throughout the city are hotbeds for car accidents, the majority due to the lack of a left-turn light, especially Judson St. and Lugonia Ave. Along with the streets’ long history comes a long list of casualties from said accidents, yet nothing has changed.
“The cars on Lugonia go way too fast!” claims one Redlands resident
“Redlands Buzz has an alert on that intersection basically once a week!” another resident exclaims.
Citizens of Redlands agree: Judson & Lugonia needs an arrow. They are arguably the two busiest streets in the whole city, but are wholly neglected. The new road renovation program implemented in 2012 has no plans to operate on either street. Even if it did, nothing would change– What good is a newly paved road if the driver is dead?
In one study by the Federal Highway Administration claims that adding a left-turn light to an intersection would reduce accident-related fatalities by up to 84%, which can potentially lead to hundreds of lives saved over the lifespan of the roads themselves if implemented in Redlands. The intersections both preceding and following Judson and Lugonia both have said ticket to tomorrow. Why not include these arrows on intersections where they are needed most?
For the time being, the answers to these questions remain in the dark, as is the City’s reasoning for them even to exist. The police department has neglected to respond to my inquiries.