Cars Vs. Wildlife
Drivers in a hurry are taking a toll on Pacific Grove's Pico Avenue.
Thursday, April 4, 2002
Photo by Jenifer Flowers; this Coopers'' Hawk was killed by a speeding driver on a residential street in PG.
A Pacific Grove resident says a young Cooper''s Hawk was the latest casualty of Pico Avenue speeders.
"Squirrels are pretty frequent," Cathleen Wright says. "Last year there was a Northern Flicker; there are Acorn Woodpeckers and raccoons. I watched my neighbor''s cat get hit-it''s heartbreaking."
The speed limit along Pico is 25 mph, but it''s seldom enforced, Wright says. Drivers travel down the 17 Mile Drive hill and turn onto Short Street and Pico Avenue faster than they should, she says. "I watched a guy go up the street the other night going 50. And there goes somebody right now, going at least 35."
She says there are more than 50 kids who live on the street, and she''s worried that if the drivers don''t have time to break for the wildlife, a child might be next.
The city hasn''t seen any accidents on Pico Avenue this year, but recorded two at the intersection of Pico and 17 Mile Drive in 2001, says police Capt. Carl Miller.
"I''m not trying to say that we don''t take her concerns seriously, because we do. This is an old city having to deal with cars that it was never designed for," Miller says, adding that 28,000 cars come in and out of Pacific Grove on Highway 68 a day. "This city was never designed to see this influx of traffic. We have problems, and a lot of people speed."
He says the police department continues working to address the traffic problems through enforcement, speed radars, and a "drive- friendly campaign" designed to involve the community in pro-active, safe driving practices.
There used to be three hawks in the neighborhood, Wright says. Now there are two.
"Part of the beauty here is the wildlife," Wright says. "And hawks are so rare here. Now there''s one less thing to stop and enjoy because this hawk is dead."