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The City of Watsonville and the Watsonville Police Department have joined forces to launch a campaign designed to improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists in certain areas of the city.
The first focus area is the Main St. corridor, which is one of the busiest roadways in Watsonville. Crews have lined the street with banners that provide roadway safety tips and reminders for community members. The area has officially been designated a safety zone. "What I've noticed is a lot of people texting and driving and also just not using their signal," said Watsonville native Carlos Campos. "Sometimes when you're driving down like big streets like Main Street, you're not able to see some people who are crossing." The police department and the city are well aware of these issues. "We've identified several roadways in the city where we've has the problems; Main street corridor being one of the worst." Said Watsonville Police sergeant, Donny Thul. Sgt. Thul explained that over the past year, there have been 75 accidents in this area, and that 2 of them have been fatal. "It's important though that everyone remembers, it's not just the drivers' responsibility. I really want to get that through to everybody. It's also the responsibility of the pedestrian to pay attention," said Thul. The City Mayor, Francisco Estrada, said there are plans to install several banners in other hot spots in Watsonville. "We have a couple of goals with these banners. One is to educate the public. We want to let everyone know that parts of Watsonville areas that we feel need a little boost, we want to make sure they're extra safe for pedestrians and drivers." The banners are just one component of the recently launched Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Campaign. The city has also placed bright orange flags at busy main St. crosswalks to help increase pedestrian visibility. "Somebody was mentioning that they thought like, 'Oh, what if they steal the flags?' and somebody else said, 'who cares if they're walking around with a flag and they can use the flags anywhere, you know, it's a plus for the community" Mayor Estrada said. However, at the end of the day, it's up to the driver and the pedestrian to make the right move, something that Campos hopes people will take seriously. "Just be careful. Slow down, especially in big streets like Main St. and Freedom and be cautious of where crosswalks are and start slowing down near some of the crosswalks," explained Campos.