Santa Ana Safe Mobility Campaign Launches

The campaign aims to improve safety in the areas of Santa Ana that are most dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists

More than forty participants attended the kick off for Latino Health Access safe mobility campaign. Photos by Kristopher Fortin.
More than forty participants attended the kick off for Latino Health Access safe mobility campaign. Photos by Kristopher Fortin.

A local community-based organization in Santa Ana launched a safe mobility campaign today that is aimed at improving pedestrian and vehicle safety. Santa Ana residents will lead the outreach and education effort.

Latino Health Access received a $25,000 grant from State Farm Insurance for the yearlong traffic safety campaign. At today’s kickoff event at Advanced Learning Academy on Walnut Avenue, more than forty parents and children listened to an introduction of the project from the partners.

LHA plans to conduct outreach to 2,000 residents, and to train at least ten local youth and adults to be Safe Mobility Ambassadors. The group will conduct an audit of bicycle, pedestrian, and motorist behaviors in the project area, educate at least 500 people on safe mobility behaviors and rules, and  organize pop-up demos that model safe walking, biking, and driving in areas with high collision rates.

“This is an equity issue. Unlike other cities where they have to encourage people to walk and bike, Santa Ana residents already rely on active transportation as their primary means of transportation, so we have a collective responsibility to ensure that our families can transit around their city safely,”  said Nancy Mejía, director of community engagement and advocacy programs at Latino Health Access.

Santa Ana is one of the most dangerous cities in the state for those who walk or bike. According to California Office of Traffic Safety 2014 Rankings, among cities with a population over 250,000, Santa Ana ranked:

  • 1st in collisions where alcohol was involved
  • 1st in collisions involving pedestrians under the age of fifteen
  • 3rd in collisions involved bicyclists

One of the campaign focus areas is in the Eastside neighborhood, along First Street, which is a major corridor that connects residential neighborhoods, schools, and commercial outlets.

“The City of Santa Ana released the Safe Mobility Santa Ana Plan last year, revealing that dense, low-income neighborhoods in Santa Ana are the most impacted by collisions. We know many people who have been hit by a car while crossing a street or biking to work,” Mejía said. “Now that we have clear data showing where the problem intersections are, and what the problem behaviors are, we are taking back these streets and getting to work converting them into information hubs and engaging families to transit in a safe and active way.”

Latino Health Access, a local public health nonprofit founded in 1993, is focused on working with community residents to create solutions in their communities. In addition to working with local residents of all ages, much of its staff, which they call promotores, are local residents as well.

State Farm Insurance has been active in Santa Ana in recent years, funding community murals at schools and community centers focused on pedestrian and motorist safety. The company funded this campaign because it aligns with its mission to create safer communities where people work and live, and because it involves collaborating with youth and the city, said Adriana Galdamez, State Farm’s public affairs specialist for Southern California.

“This project aligns with our mission to educate our communities,” Galdamez said. “We ensure homes, and property and people, so if there’s a way to keep folks safer when traveling, we want to help in those efforts.”

At today’s event, participants were quizzed on safe cycling and pedestrian habits, shown examples of reckless pedestrian and motorist behavior, and asked to respond to what was happening. The children flooded the moderators with answers.

“What is Safe Mobility?” said Daniel Cortes, an LHA staff member.

“Not going onto the street without a helmet.”

“Not using your phone when driving.”

Bike lights and locks were raffled, and more than forty helmets were distributed.

“When we talk about accidents and collisions, we only see numbers,” said Rosario Galeas, LHA program coordinator for the safe mobility campaign. “It’s important that we just don’t see those numbers but that sometimes we are those numbers.”

Santa Ana, State Farm, Safe Mobility Campaign

Santa Ana, State Farm, Safe Mobility Campaign2
Children line up to get fitted and receive a free helmet provided by Santa Ana Active Streets.

To become a Safe Mobility Ambassador or attend a Safe Mobility class, contact Danny Cortes.

 

 

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