Moved by a grieving mother's crusade for the kind of safer street-crossings that could have saved her son's life, the Simi Valley City Council has agreed to install traffic signals at three crucial intersections along the Arroyo Simi Bike Path.
Travis Peterson, 13, was riding his bike across Erringer Road along the popular bike path on May 5 when a car plowed into him at 40 m.p.h. He died two days later. Simi Valley motorist Penelope Reeps was sentenced to 240 hours of community service for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.
Since then, Travis' mother, Cathy Peterson, has been pressuring the city to install stoplights mid-block where the popular bike path crosses Erringer Road, Sycamore Drive and Royal Avenue.
On Monday night, the council voted 5 to 0 to spend $120,000 on the lights, which will be controlled by push-buttons on the sidewalks at both sides of the intersections, said Bill Golubics, Simi Valley's traffic engineer. The first light--on Erringer--should be working by mid-December and the other two by May, he said.
"I'm very, very pleased," Peterson said Tuesday. "I'm personally going to make sure that that happens."
Peterson said she drew strength for her traffic-light crusade from other city residents. In the days and weeks following Travis' death, residents circulated petitions pushing for installation of the signals. And they festooned the bridge near where he died with flowers and cards.
"I haven't done this for my son, because there's nothing that can change what's happened to him," Cathy Peterson said Tuesday. "I've done this . . . to make a difference in our community so that we can reduce the risk of this happening to somebody else."