Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why Politics? (first of many parts...)


Friends of Teen Killed in Traffic Accident Win Approval for New Signal

Read more here:
Please students, don't ever let anyone tell you that politics is somehow inherently dirty and undesirable.   Here's a bittersweet and beautiful example of local politics in action.

The Sacramento Bee today reports of an announcement by local government and school district officials that a much-needed traffic signal is slated to be installed at the intersection of Fruitridge Rd and 58th Street, the result of political action by West Campus High School students following the death of their friend and classmate, Michelle Murigi nearly two years ago.    Michelle was walking in the intersection's crosswalk near the high school after mentoring younger children at nearby Mark Twain Elementary School.  As the Bee reports:

Sacramento police said a car in the far eastbound lane had stopped to allow Michelle to cross at 56th Avenue, but a car in the inside eastbound lane continued through the crosswalk and struck her. The second driver had been unable to see Michelle because of the stopped car.

Michelle sustained severe trauma and died the next day.

According to Terry Preston, coordinator of pedestrian advocacy group WALK Sacramento, Fruitridge Road was initially designed as a “mini-highway in an urban area.”

“That leads to people flying down the road too fast,” he said.
Preston said the city of Sacramento has known about unsafe conditions on Fruitridge for years...
Michelle's friends petitioned neighbors, lobbied school and city officials and even made a documentary in their successful effort to convince leaders to prioritize the Fruitridge Road signal.

That's working to improve the community.  That's being political.  That's politics.   


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. First of all, it took almost 2 years for a plan to build a traffic light at that location. According to Terry Preston, the traffic light should've been built a decade ago. Of course only when accidents happen then they will take action. It's a school and there's going to be students. And I wonder is it true for $400k to install a traffic light...

  3. Last summer, I went to a summit with my group called "Girls On The Rise" and this incident was mentioned. My group mate was actually one of the friends of Michelle that made the documentary. I've seen the video and I must agree, that the crosswalk is very dangerous to cross.

    According to the documentary, The City of Sacramento has the budget to install one traffic signal per year at an intersection from the Traffic Signal Priority List and 58th & Fruitridge has been on the list over the decade. And it is sad to know that already one person have died because of it and still no action.

    If you're interested watching the documentary, here's the link:

  4. Well, it sounds like that if Michelles friends never had started an online petition and raised awareness for the need of the traffic sign that it would have never been built.

  5. It is extremely unfortunate that such perseverance and determination (so far as to create a documentary) had to be channeled into something as seemingly simple as getting a traffic light installed. It is tragic that it took the loss of a life in order to get people's attention; hopefully, it will prevent anyone else from getting hurt (or worse). In spite of the time and circumstances, it reflects positively on citizens getting involved in politics. "Politics" is a dirty word, for the most part, and some people forget that it can be something as simple (or not, in this case) as getting involved in the community.

  6. This is an incredible story of how politics can change our community. I am also deeply impressed by how Michelle's friends stood up to petition and lobby to improve the community. As Jablonski said "That's being political. That's politics." I agree with her. When we want to make a change we should make ourselves noticed by political leaders. It's unfortunate that someone had to die in this situation before anybody cared.

  7. The new streetlight that they showed near the end of the video is in the Pocket Area and it is not useful. For the most part, it makes the intersection much more slow and inconvenient. A stop sign would work fine and the City Council should have placed the streetlight elsewhere.

    As for Michelle's friends, I commend them on petitioning to put a streetlight at 58th and Fruitridge. Perhaps it can prevent more unnecessary deaths in the future.