Over 100 local residents, students and faculty gathered at the Isla Vista Town Hall Meeting last night to discuss how people riding, walking and driving can coexist on the streets of I.V.
At the meeting, a panel of local politicians, law enforcement officials and UCSB professors answered questions about bicycle, pedestrian and motorist safety issues. Members of the panel, including California Highway Patrol (CHP) Spokesman Donald Clotworthy, said everyone traveling in I.V. is at risk when people do not obey traffic laws. Other speakers on the panel included 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone, UC Police Dept. Officer Mark Signa and UCSB professors Harry Nelson and Walter Yuen.
Kris Miller-Fisher, Firestone’s Director of Special Projects, said her office in I.V. is currently working to improve pedestrian safety by installing sidewalks on Sabado Tarde Road, Trigo Road and Segovia Road.
Miller-Fisher said the sidewalks should be completed by next December, and construction will begin in the summer, when the town has fewer occupants.
Firestone told the crowd he hopes to see new streetlights installed in I.V., as well.
“I’d just like to know things are a little bit better since I’ve been here,” Firestone said.
Clotworthy said I.V. is so densely populated that foot, bicycle and automobile traffic have to share a very small amount of space. He cited a recent incident, in which senior Sean Cottrell allegedly drove into a crowd of 11 pedestrians while intoxicated, as an example of how dangerous it is when people disobey traffic laws.
“The potential for tragedy [in] I.V. is so high,” Clotworthy said.
The meeting was sponsored by the Isla Vista Commission, an on-campus agency dedicated to improving I.V., Yuen said. He said the meeting was significant because it helped foster communication about things that hold significance for all local residents.
“We are going to try to do this once every two months or so, so people can come together to discuss I.V. issues.” Yuen said.
More than twice the number of people who attended the last town hall meeting showed up at the event last night. Nelson said he thinks it is important for as many people as possible to participate in town hall meetings because they influence local politicians and politics.
“There’s really an importance in showing up – this is how decisions get made,” Nelson said.
Junior political science major Cameron Williams said he went to the meeting because he wanted to find out what was discussed there.
“I saw the banner … that’s why I came, just to see it,” Williams said.