Jackelyn Valladares is an avid runner. She jogs around her Temple Street neighborhood every day even though the area, from Beaudry to Beverly, has a history of traffic accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists.
“People use these neighborhoods as a shortcut or a like an alternative to the freeway,” said Valladares, “and people still want and drive like it's the freeway. But there's a lot of families that live here.”
Although the city has identified the Temple Street corridor as a high priority area through its 'Vision Zero' program, and has added some new signals, signs and lane treatments, Jackie says the area is still hazardous.
Valladares’ family moved from a house in nearby Silver Lake when the rents skyrocketed and their new neighborhood just off Temple Street is much less pedestrian-friendly. Garbage and homeless encampments often crowd the sidewalks forcing pedestrians into traffic.
But in 2017, Valladares was brushed by a turning car while jogging into Silver Lake from home.
“The cars on that side [of the road] stopped because they thought I got hit,” explained Valladares.
Even though she wasn't seriously injured, the close call caused so much anxiety that she sought therapy to treat her PTSD symptoms, and now she says she's on edge every time she goes running.
“And you're constantly like in this, like a battle,” she said. “It's frustrating.”
Temporary signs that read, “SLOW DOWN” can be seen throughout the neighborhoods, but they have little effect said Valladares.
“I actually feel more at risk now than when I was growing up when there was gangs in the community,” she explained.
Valladares decided to become part of the solution and now works for a non-profit transportation advocacy group.
“We only hope that politicians listen because they're like surgeons for the city,” she said. “They need to do treatments.”
She believes the simple act of taking a walk shouldn't be a source of energy anxiety for pedestrians.
“No matter if you're poor or rich, you should have the right to walk,” said Valladares, “and have a dignified walk.”
She plans to keep running, but for now, the fear also remains.