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Senior citizens for safety

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Regular participants at the Eastside Neighborhood Center located on the Alum Rock Avenue share a common concern with residents of the Mayfair area: simply walking and crossing the street are absolutely dangerous, especially at this time of the year when it starts getting darker earlier during the day.

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Drivers often dart across the busy arteries on the Eastside creating an environment that deters many from being able to walk safely to the corner grocery store or to the Eastside Center.

A culture of jaywalking in this area has also contributed to the dangerous conditions along Alum Rock Avenue—simply put, something has to be done to make walking and crossing the street safer. Over the last decade, the demographics and land uses along the Alum Rock corridor have changed dramatically, with many different senior housing developments and services have been established that serve older adults who are walking, biking, or taking transit to reach these establishments.

At the Eastside Neighborhood Center, for example, we average 210 individuals walking in and out of the building every weekday. So, on November 2, 2012, while celebrating ‘Día de los Muertos’ (Day of the Dead),45 passionate community residents (mostly seniors) walked out to Alum Rock Avenue to raise awareness for pedestrian safety, wearing small skulls masks and with signs reading: ‘Slow Down for Seniors’, ‘Senior Zone’, & ‘Jaywalking Kills demonstrated their concern and need for action.

Rita Mora, a local resident and community leader, says “I see people jaywalking every single day across Alum Rock Avenue. Some of them are even using canes or walkers!” Joaquin Aguirre, who lives a couple of blocks from the center and always walks says that drivers are aggressive and do not have patience for pedestrians even at the signalized pedestrian crossings.

For this reason, the Eastside Neighborhood Center has encouraged its senior leaders to promote a coalition with local advocacy groups such as California WALKS, AGEnts for Change, TransForm, Department of Transportation of the City of San Jose, VTA and the office of Council member Xavier Campos; in order to implement specific actions, such as more visible traffic signs, Seniors Crossing signs, better pedestrians crossing lines, enforce speed limits and the establishment of a reduced speed (25 mph) Senior Zone. For more information on this effort, please contact Milton Cadena at mcadena@catholiccharitiesscc.org

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