Petition asking for changes to Mount Vernon Road after nearly fatal scooter crash

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 7:17 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Some people in Cedar Rapids want to see changes along a stretch of Mount Vernon Road SE. This comes after two young boys were hit by a car in the road while riding a motorized rental scooter last week. Both boys, ages 8 and 12, were taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics with life-threatening injuries.

The boys were riding down an alley that feeds into Mount Vernon Road when they were hit. This happened near 15th Street.

Mary Arenas, a Cedar Rapids native, has started a petition to make immediate changes to the road. She’s gathered more than 200 signatures since the crash. While changes to the road may not have prevented this particular incident, the crash did spark a conversation about safety.

“It just, it broke my heart. So I thought, I’ve got to do something,” Arenas told KCRG-TV9.

She and her family have marked the alleyway with words of encouragement using chalk.

People who signed the petition are calling for the city to update the markings on the current crosswalk while adding a second crosswalk nearby.

They also want the stop sign at the end of the alleyway to be more visible because it currently is blocked by a pole. Some people even want the alley closed off completely to Mount Vernon Road.

The city says this stretch of road sees 23,000 vehicles a day and they’ve had plans in place to update it.

“Adding sidewalk along the south side of the road near the cemetery where there currently isn’t. And we’ll also be adding a pedestrian crossing, an additional pedestrian crossing at the signal at 15th Street,” said John Witt, Traffic Engineering Program Manager for the City of Cedar Rapids.

Those changes are set for 2023, but many don’t want to wait that long.

The city says crews will repaint the current crosswalk markings within the next few weeks.

“We’ll make sure they get there as soon as possible,” Witt said.

The city is also looking into requiring verification using ID’s to confirm scooter riders meet the age requirement of 18.

For now, Arenas is still working to raise awareness about safety concerns on the road. She plans to address the city council next week during the public comment period.

“It needs to be done now, people need to see we are doing something, we did not forget you,” Arenas said.

A family member of the 8-year-old boy who was injured in the scooter crash told TV9 the boy is up walking, talking and eating. They said he should be going home soon. That same family member said they weren’t sure of the status of the 12-year-old friend, but last they had heard he was improving.

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