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Another victim along a deadly stretch of road: Stockton Boulevard and Fruitridge

A bicyclist was killed in a hit-and-run accident Sunday night on Stockton Boulevard near Lawrence Drive.

A bicyclist was killed in a hit-and-run accident Sunday night on Stockton Boulevard in an area that is considered to be one of the most dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians in Sacramento.

Terry Preston, the complete streets coordinator for the nonprofit organization Walk Sacramento, explains why: Sacramento police are still searching for the driver of the white pickup truck that struck 61-year-old Molly Arndt at 5:28 p.m. while she was crossing Stockton Boulevard on her bicycle near Lawrence Drive. The truck is believed to be a 1992-1998 Chevy Silverado 1500 with a toolbox in the back, and a broken left headlamp and damage to the driver’s side front grill area, according to Officer Michelle Gigante. 

A witness saw the truck brake prior to the impact, hit the cyclist and then slow down before speeding off, Gigante said.                                 

Anyone with information can contact investigators at (916) 264-5471, or text in a tip to 274637 (CRIMES).

The incident occurred just a half mile from where a teenager was struck and killed while crossing Stockton Boulevard and Fruitridge Road in January. 

The death of 16-year-old Michelle Murigi sparked a public outcry, which led City Councilman Kevin McCarty to organize a working group to address street safety in that section of Stockton Boulevard.

Preston was a member of the group, and in August, he published a report on bicycle and pedestrian safety on Stockton Boulevard and Fruitridge Road. The report included recommendations for traffic-calming features and more crossings locations, measures Preston said could help prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.

"That intersection and that area is one of the most dangerous ones in the city for bicyclists and pedestrians," he said Monday. "There are more collisions at or around there than anywhere else."

According to the Sacramento Police Department’s 2011 Annual Report, the intersection was the third most dangerous intersection in the city for that year, with 36 total accidents.

(That figure includes all accidents, not just those involving bikes or pedestrians. Thanks to Isaac Gonzalez at ranSACkedmedia for sending us that factoid and the link to the report.)

Jim Brown, the interim director of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, agreed with Preston.

"Terry Preston is absolutely correct: We can prevent some of these tragedies by reducing vehicle speeds so that a driver has time to avoid a bicyclist or pedestrian," Brown wrote in a comment below this story. "The City of Sacramento cannot afford to continue tolerating the hazards that exist at Stockton & Fruitridge."  

McCarty said that the city is well on its way to developing a plan, and that addressing safety along Stockton Boulevard should be a priority for the Department of Transportation.

"We need to come up with a sound plan to improve safety out there," McCarty said. "This is a tragedy, and someone lost their life."

Part of the problem, Preston said, is that street was designed as a highway, with long blocks and clear stretches of road allowing cars to pick up speed. Many nearby residents, he said, walk or use bikes, creating a dangerous combination.

"You have lots of people in a confined space and fast cars – that just creates a real perfect storm, as the metaphor goes," he said.

Fruitridge Ped Safety Report 8-28-12

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