Evolution of an Intersection – A Timeline

By the Pio Pico Student Researchers


This is our story/timeline about the evolution of our intersection.  The timeline was based on interviews conducted by current and former Researchers, information provided by Bernadette Vargas at the Pediatric Injury Prevention Research Group, University of California, Irvine and by our teacher, Mrs. Wolk.


Fall 1992- School Opening.  Crossing guard hired by school between Shelton and Flower on Highland in front of the boys and girls club to handle mid-block crossing in front of school.


1)      Winter 1998- The students took community walks and interviewed parents, neighborhood leaders from the local boys and girls club, and the lady in the pink house.  Student researchers also canvassed several neighborhoods.


2)      Spring 1998- Based on interviews and photos, the students then identified the intersection of highland and flower as a dangerous intersection for pedestrians.  Speeding, and drivers not yielding to pedestrians then caused researchers to begin collecting data at the intersection. 


3)      Spring 1998- Student researchers struck out across the city to identify all the ways that traffic is stopped or slowed.  They also counted the number of cars and pedestrians that crossed the intersection.  The researchers recognized the need to speak with traffic engineers to compare data.


4)      Spring1998- The researchers found a discrepancy between the number reported by the city and personal accounts of student victims interviewed by the student researchers.  Researchers then met with the City of Santa Ana’s traffic engineering division and presented their evidence of a pedestrian safety problem at Flower and Highland.  The city engineer recognized their concerns and launched a formal study that would begin in the summertime.


5)      Spring 1998- The students garnered the support of their community by collecting signatures from parents and students.  Local residents expressed interest in installing a light at the intersection of Flower and Highland.


6)      Summer 1998- The traffic engineer concluded the study of the intersection and announced that neither a stop sign nor a traffic signal could be installed due to lack of funds.  City engineers re-paint the crosswalk to make it more visible to drivers.


7)      Summer 1998- A reporter from the Orange County Register ran a story on the Pio Pico Student Researchers (PPSR) and their effort to improve their neighborhood.  This article triggered a response from local television and newspaper, while attracting attention of city officials.


8)      Spring 1999- The California Office of Traffic Safety creates the Santa Ana Pedestrian Safety (SAPS) Project.  The SAPS project and the PPSR combine their efforts to collect data on the speed of cars traveling through the intersection.  The SAPS project connects the researchers with the Santa Ana Police Department to use a radar gun and collect information on speeding cars.  In a comparison study a few blocks north of the intersection, they found less traffic, and more traffic calming and diversion devices.  This was also a high-income residential neighborhood.


9)      Spring 1999- PPSR receives media coverage from OCN, channel 2, 4, 34, and 7 news stations.  Their effort to improve the dangerous conditions at Flower Street and Highland are featured in the Los Angeles Times and the local Comcast Cable station.


10)   Summer 1999- The SAPS Project invites the Researchers to present their case at a special SAPS Task Force Meeting with the Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety.  The students videotaped their presentation and were interviewed by reporters for a story in the Los Angeles Times. 


11)   Fall 1999- Pio Pico participates in Walk A Child to School Day with the SAPS project and 4th and 5th grade classrooms use the “Walkability Checklist” to assess walking conditions. 


12) Fall 1999- The Santa Ana Dept. of Public Works installs a four way stop, and moves the crosswalk further south. 


13) Winter 1999- The Researchers notice that drivers will do not yield to pedestrians and are rolling through the stop sign.  The researchers conclude that a signal light may be the best solution to improving safety at the intersection.



14) Winter 2000- The Researchers participate in a pedestrian safety trigger video with the SAPD, Santa Ana High School Video Production Department, Pedestrian Task Force and Parents from Washington Elementary School.



15) Spring and Fall 2000 The Students receive a grant from the City to plan a neighborhood public information campaign to:

v    Host a safety parade

v    Host a health and safety fair

v    Create pedestrian banners and posters

v    Design and paint a neighborhood mural with pedestrian safety message.


16) Spring and Fall 2001 – Researchers continue to work to ensure that the City installs the street light by:

v    Conducting petition drive

v    Collecting data about aggressive drivers

v    Mapping accidents in the city near our school


17) Summer 2001– Students appear in MADD video, “Street Smarts” and are highlighted in the magazine, MADD.  And, are interviewed for a PBS special, “America’s Walking” with Mark Fenton to be aired in the May 2002.



18) Spring 2002 – continue to work by collecting additional data and will be presenting to the city council and the Santa Ana Pedestrian Task Force.  The Researchers created a Safety Museum at the Critical Educators Conference at Chapman University in Orange, California.  They shared their story with educators at Azusa Pacific University. 


19) Fall 2002 – Based on information provided by Geographic Information System (GIS), a mapping system, the Researchers have identified mid-block crossing as a serious problem in Santa Ana.  Their work will be to investigate and suggest a solution(s) to improve pedestrian safety throughout the city.