Multiple agencies work to fix dangerous section of Culebra Road

Section of road with lots of accidents getting updates in lighting

SAN ANTONIO – The 5500 block of Culebra Road on the city's West Side has come to be known for both car and pedestrian accidents.

People who live there say it's because of both lighting and crosswalk issues, and now they're working with the city and other entities to make changes.

About three years ago, 16-year-old Abigail Alejandro was hit by a car while trying to cross Culebra by her family's apartment complex.

"I was crossing. She was on her phone, and she hit me. I hit the windshield, rolled over it, rolled three times," Alejandro said.

She hurt her shoulder, but fully recovered.

"They said I got lucky. I could have died," she said.

Last November, one of Alejandro's neighbors wasn't as lucky. Maria Davila was hit and killed trying to cross the same intersection, but in the dark.

These accidents, plus many more, rallied the community together to fight for two issues: more street lighting and a place to cross the street safely.

Crossing in the 5500 block where these accidents are happening is illegal, but the closest crosswalk is blocks away, so people risk it every day. There are two apartment complexes on either side of that section of Culebra that house around 300 families each.

"The only entrances and exits to these apartments are, as you can see, these ways off of Culebra and it's extremely dangerous," said Laquita Garcia, who has been leading community efforts by talking with both the city of San Antonio and CPS Energy about the issues.

The city is responsible for funding public safety measures, and if those involve CPS replacing or putting in lighting, the energy company must comply.

Recently, the city had CPS replaced the older street lights with new LED lights. Garcia said it's a step in the right direction, but that they still are not very bright. She is also requesting more light posts, specifically on the other side of the road.

"There's absolutely nothing on the other side that would illuminate anything," Garcia said, pointing to the side of Culebra opposite her apartment, which has no street lights.

CPS is finishing a study to determine whether that part of Culebra does need more lighting. Once the study if finished, results will be shared with the city and the city will determine what action needs to be taken.

As for a safe way to cross that intersection, there are several options on the table.

"Maybe hawk lighting or blinking lights," Garcia said.

"We need to make sure we have the right road configuration. If we need to try to modify speeds and doing some creative things it's definitely worth it," said District 7 Councilman Cris Medina, who has been working with Garcia for the past year. "At this point, everything's on the table and we want to be part of a solution and that's what I've conveyed to the folks out there."

It will be an ongoing effort between the city of San Antonio, CPS and the community.

Community members held a candlelight vigil Wednesday in the neighborhood to honor victims of unsafe road conditions on Culebra. Together, they wanted to bring more awareness about their issue and similar issues around San Antonio.

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