Safety improvements coming to I Street in Tacoma

Three weeks after a car hit a Tacoma trick-or-treater, safety improvements are now planned for the busy road where the crash happened.

Three weeks after a car hit a Tacoma trick-or-treater, safety improvements are now planned for the busy road where the crash happened.

In fact, some changes are already in place on I Street.

"Anytime something happens with a child, it underscores what all of us know, any of us that are parents for sure.  There's nothing more precious than your children," said Tacoma City Council Member Robert Thoms.  "So you'll go to the ends of the earth to make sure whatever needs to be done is done, to make sure they're safe and sound."

For Thoms, that meant first working in conjunction with concerned neighbors to adjust the stoplight at the corner of 12th and I Street, near Lowell Elementary.  The adjustment is designed to give pedestrians, particularly children headed to and from school, more time to cross the street.

Thoms said the city also launched a traffic study of I street, to try to determine where additional lights or crosswalks can be added.

Neighbors have long complained that there aren't enough designated crosswalks in the area.

A seven-year-old boy was hit by a suspected drunk driver while crossing I Street with his family on Halloween night.  The young boy was released from the hospital just last week. 

On Tuesday, his mother told KING 5 they're grateful to have him home, but he still has a long recovery ahead of him.

The family has called for safety improvements on I Street in the aftermath of the crash on Halloween.  His mother said that's one positive thing that can come out of what's been a very difficult and sad situation for her son and their entire family.

Thoms' children attend Lowell, as does the boy that got hit while trick-or-treating.

Thoms said the safety issues near the school and all along I Street are something he's been working on for the last couple of years.  On Tuesday night, city council took a big step forward.

The 2017-2018 Biennial Budget council members approved on Tuesday, included $500,000 for more crosswalks across the city, plus another $1.5 million for flashing school zone beacons and other safety improvements near 14 different schools, including Lowell.

"This is a step in the right direction," said Thoms.  "I hope we spend this money as soon as possible, but there is still plenty more work to be done."
 
The mother of the boy that was hit by a car said she'd like to see the city take things even further, in the form of traffic circles, speed bumps, or red light traffic cameras on I Street.  She believes that's what is needed to slow drivers down.

Copyright 2016 KING


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