Tragic, but predictable and preventable

Baraka Sentmore, a mother of four, was killed July 11 while standing on a small refuge island at the intersection of Piedmont Road and Morosgo. She worked at the nearby Kroger and was struck while waiting to cross Piedmont to get to work.

Baraka Sentmore. (gofundme.com/baraka-sentmores-accidental-death)

Baraka Sentmore (from gofundme.com/baraka-sentmores-accidental-death)

“Baraka Sentmore will be missed,” Terry Jones wrote. “She was a God-fearing woman who loved church and life. She did what she had to do to provide for her family.”

On August 11, PEDS will hold a Rally for Safe Streets. We’ll gather at 9:00 a.m. the SW corner of Piedmont and Morosgo, the location where Ms. Sentmore was killed. Together, we’ll urge elected officials and transportation professionals to fund and implement pedestrian safety improvements.

Baraka Sentmore’s loss of life was tragic. But the brutal crash was also predictable and preventable. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported that the driver has been charged with vehicular homicide.

Well-deserved, but the road bears much of the blame. The island is tiny and offers almost no protection to people standing there.island and road

It started as a crash beteen 2 vehicles – one turning left and one attempting to travel straight. The cars struck Ms. Sentmore and then came to rest at the power pole on the island near the SW corner of the intersection.

We haven’t learned yet whether she was pinned between the cars – or thrown into the air toward the sidewalk. Either is horrific.

Some assume that traffic fatalities are inevitable. We disagree. Even one death is too many.

Others assume that transportation agencies lack sufficient funding to install safety improvements. Not so. Effective, low cost safety improvements, including better designed islands and signal timing, are available.

Failing to address a known safety hazard can cost far more. In 2016 a jury assigned 90% of the blame for a pedestrian fatality to California’s transportation department – with an $8 million fine.

Plans to improve the sidewalks and street design at this location and others on Piedmont have been in the works for over a decade. It hasn’t happened.

Is this what it takes to get agencies to follow though?