Fremont to move forward with street design changes despite opposition

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- Andreas Kadavanich is with the group Bike Fremont, which advocates for safe bicycling in the Tri-Cities of Fremont, Union City and Newark.

They point to Friday night's fatal hit-and-run that killed 72-year-old Suzanne Ogi and her dog, as they were walking in the crosswalk on Niles Boulevard in Fremont.

"Ever since the 1950s, we have traded safety for speed," says Kadavanich. "We need to make sure that mobility means people getting safely to their destination. Everybody. Every street. Everywhere."

BUILDING A BETTER BAY AREA: Fremont

The group was present at Tuesday night's city council in Fremont to hear about the proposed street changes designed to improve safety.

The two areas of concern are Niles Boulevard between the BART Overpass and Nursery Avenue, and Rancho Arroyo Parkway between Niles and Riviera Drive.

RELATED: Fremont residents want stop sign, traffic light at intersection after deadly hit-and-run

Some of the proposals include reducing lanes, creating buffered bike lanes, construct missing sidewalks and putting a traffic light at Rock Avenue, the sight of Friday's fatal accident.

"There is an urgency to it because too many people have died this year. We are actually on a record pace this year. It's really bad to be a pedestrian in Fremont this year," says Kadavanich.

But those opposed say there are too many changes being proposed. "We thought we were doing a great thing, but we heard a lot of concern from the community that this was a bold and drastic change," commented Hans Larsen, the Public Works Director for the City of Fremont, during his presentation at the meeting.

RELATED: Pedestrian and her dog killed by hit-and-run driver in Fremont, police say

Larsen says there is "a heighten level of urgency" in light of Friday's fatal accident.

A long line of opponents spoke against the city's recommendations and offered alternatives such as more street lights and signs, and stronger enforcement of the current speed limit.

"How about you spend a fraction of the money and hire one more police officer to spend a little but more time on traffic enforcement. Now that will be a solution," says one Fremont resident during public comment.

RELATED: 'Do the right thing': Family of Fremont grandmother killed urges suspected hit-and-run driver to surrende

The majority of the city council supports the city's proposals. Larsen says they hope to solicit bids on project by the spring and for construction begin by the summer of 2020.

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