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Home / Opinion / Monrovia Old Town report: News flash(ing) beacons in Old Town

Monrovia Old Town report: News flash(ing) beacons in Old Town

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By Shawn Spencer

What is one of my biggest pet peeves? Almost dying every time I try to cross Myrtle, mid-block.  

A lot of drivers are great. They stop, wave and let me cross. Others, not so much. They don’t even look side to side and are often either: a) staring at their crotch or b) staring at their phone. Both options are unacceptable. We all have moments; moments where we can be better drivers or more thoughtful, considerate drivers. We all zone out occasionally, while on auto pilot. It’s summertime, kids are out and about all day. During the school year, kids are walking to and from school. We must be more careful all year long. 

I’m pretty confident that I won’t get hit. I’m savvy enough to make sure that cars see and stop for me. Kids are different. They don’t have the life experience to be discerning. They are still indestructible. Half the time, kids are listening to music through their earbuds and hear nothing else. Other times, they are just staring at their phones and completely unaware of their surroundings. It drives me batsh*t crazy. 

Basically, we have to be extra careful because kids are extra careless. If they are anything like my daughter, they are probably wearing all black, which just adds another element of danger (thank goodness my daughter’s hair is blue and purple).

Safety-wise, today is a new day in M-town! This week, construction begins on the city’s pilot program for the Rapid Flashing Beacons at the mid-block crosswalks. The installations will occur above Palm Ave at Baskin Robbins, between Lemon and Lime at the theatre, and between Colorado and Olive at Pinkberry. This week, construction begins on the foundation and poles. Next week, the Rapid Flashing Beacons will be installed and configured. 

As with all new programs, there may be a need for potential adjustments or changes to the configuration. However, the most important piece of this trial is actually using it. There is no way to tell if the beacons are helpful if no one presses the button prior to crossing the street. My hope is that people do, indeed, use the beacons. 

If this pilot program is successful, they will be placed throughout the city. These safety measures are desperately needed at school crosswalks. The street parking blocks visibility tremendously. Add to that, a child darting across the street and a parent rushing to their next destination and you have the potential for tragedy. 

I am thrilled the city is taking these measures to make Monrovia safer for all. I’m hopeful that city staff creates an online questionnaire, to gain feedback from residents. Use the beacons! Let the city know your thoughts on the benefits the flashing beacons provide.  Let’s all try to drive a bit more conscientiously. Nothing is more important than the safety of our community members of all ages. 

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