November 18: A young girl was tragically killed by a vehicle while crossing highway 58 on Monday morning on her way to school. The driver of the vehicle was on his way to work, and likely blinded by the sun and could not see the young girl. The community of Mojave is in Morning, and residents are asking what they can do for the family. The high school is currently receiving donations; for more information please call Kressa Coy at 661-824-4088, The Elks Lodge is also having a bake sale at 10am on Saturday as well as a fundraising dinner from 5 to 7pm Saturday evening.
This is the third deadly accident in Mojave in 2 weeks. On the evening of November 6th, a man was hit by a car crossing the highway near Stater Bros. The man was dead until a nurse driving by stopped and performed CPR, and brought the man back to life. The man was riding his bike after dark, and the driver could not see the man crossing the road. On the evening of November 8th, a car was hit by another vehicle while conducting a U Turn, and one of the occupants was then hit by another car while seeking help. Visibility is a common problem in Mojave, where there is a particularly large density of pedestrian traffic, in a town surrounded by highways with vehicles traveling at high rates of speed. The Mojave Foundation is determined to make this community safer, and more compatible with pedestrian traffic by increasing overhead street lighting, reducing vehicle speeds, and introducing cross-walks in key pedestrian corridors. To support this initiative or offer some additional suggestions, please email Todd@MojaveFoundation.org.
I can understand your other proposed remedial actions, like crosswalks and decreased speeds, but “increasing lighting”? That’s no solution and totally unnecessary but it’s always the first thing proposed by the uninformed. What time of the day was the young lady hit by the car? Apparently in morning daylight since you note the driver may have been “blinded by the sun”. What kind of lighting could prevent that? More lighting is definitely not needed in the area of State Bros and glare from the existing lighting is an unsafe contributor to visibility problems and traffic safety.
Mojave is already an overly bright, overly lit, blight on the desert landscape and destroyer of the regional night sky. The sky glow from Mojave is visible on the horizon, and a destroyer of starlight, from as far away as Red Cliffs, Red Rock Canyon State Park, and many other desert recreational areas. The Highway 58 corridor, with lights on the railroad switching facilities, obscenely bright gas station canopies, businesses with unshielded floodlights and wall light packs, and unshielded “cobra head” street lights is an affront to the senses.
In like manner, the area in and around the Stater Bros parking lot is extremely bright as it is lit by unshielded pole lights that spill their light in all directions (except perhaps DOWN where it’s needed) Then there’s the obscene lights at the LADWP facility adding even more glare to the mix. If anything, the current state of glare from unshielded lights on both sides of the highway probably contributes to visibility and traffic safety problems.
You need to control the light that you’ve got. Start a grassroots campaign to clean up and reduce the glare coming from the commercial properties. Require retrofit shielding of lights already in use and ensure that all future lights, business and residential, are “full cut off” shielded fixtures which direct light down where it’s needed rather than as distracting horizontal glare or up into the night sky. The lights on the gas station canopies need to be recessed into the canopies so the light is directed down only, rather horizontally in all directions. Less light, directed where it’s needed, is far more effective than more glare producing lights spilling light in every direction.
Remember, Mojave is a “census designated” unincorporated area and as it’s residential areas are subject to to Kern County Ordinance 19.81 “Dark Skies Ordinance”. A condensed information sheet can be found here and the entire code can be read on the county website.
Click to access FORM%20728%20-%20Dark%20Skies%20Ordinance.pdf
Mr. M, I can appreciate your desire to preserve the natural desert environment without unnecessary light pollution. My wife and I live in Mojave as well, and we enjoy the nighttime backdrop and we are sensitive to the street glare, which can be dangerous. However, I was one of the first people to witness the tragic accident on November 6 by Stater Bros, and I can assure you that there is absolutely no light on the scene. I was almost hit by oncoming traffic as well as several first responders when they were trying to conduct CPR on the victim. The reality downtown is that there are lots of pedestrians – particularly on Sierra Hwy, Rte 58, K St, L St, M St – plus lots of cars moving at high rates of speed. The overwhelming majority of residents in these areas are asking for additional lighting – for safety reasons, as well as to address the crime and vandalism that tends to occur in these poorly-lit areas. I propose that we make an effort to increase lighting in areas where it is needed for safety reasons, and reduce unnecessary lighting in other areas for a net-zero increase in overall lighting. I appreciate your concerns, and look forward to any comments you might have.
Is there an address where donations to the family can be sent? My prayers go out to, not only the family, but to the driver who hit the poor girl. Thank you.