PEARLAND, Texas — There’s a good chance you might be able to relate to these two Pearland mothers.
They’re creating and posting handmade signs along Northfork Drive in an effort to get drivers to slow down. Krista Schoeffler and Carey Rutledge said the custom signs are the least they can do after their neighbor, 74-year-old Andrea Longoria, was hit and killed during her daily walk Friday night.
“It just goes to show how quickly life can change. In an instant,” Rutledge said as she reflected on her friend’s death at the corner of Northfork and Bagnoli Rose Lane. The intersection is also the entrance to the Lakes at Edgewater Estates neighborhood.
The established neighborhood is appealing with its ponds and parks, paved sidewalks and cul-de-sacs where you will often see young children playing. The neighborhood is set up to bring neighbors together.
“The Longorias were one of the first families to greet us,” Rutledge said about her 2009 move into the community.
Neighbors said Andrea and Jesse Longoria shared a deep love for their grandchildren, their three daughters and the Astros.
The MLB team’s colors now mark the spot where Longoria was killed around 8:30 p.m. on April 30. Pearland police said she was hit by a car as she crossed the street. Because of the severity of the crash, police investigators are currently recreating the crash, looking at speed, visibility, lighting, the curve of the road and other things that could have added to the force of the collision.
“There are marks, also, where her socks and shoes were found,” Schoeffler said as she pointed to orange spray-painted markings on the street. “They were knocked off her feet.”
Schoeffler spent Sunday holding up handmade signs that read: "SLOW DOWN." The signs are now posted in the grass and on utility poles on either side of the neighborhood’s entrance.
“I wanted to do something to honor Mrs. Longoria. And I just thought this would be the way to, just do something. I couldn’t do anything,” Schoeffler said.
It’s her hand-painted plea for people to slow down.
“We have signs for ducks crossing and not for our children," Schoeffler said.
The posted speed is 30 mph, but Rutledge said, “people treat it like it’s the Pearland autobahn.”
Rutledge wants the City of Pearland to do a traffic study. Josh Lee, a spokesman for the City of Pearland, said a traffic study is possible, especially if the police crash recreation report shows more studies are needed. Lee told KHOU 11 that several city departments are aware of Friday’s deadly crash and are looking at ways the city can better prevent another pedestrian from dying.
Lee said it should take the Pearland Police Department about two weeks to complete the crash recreation report.
One thing Pearland could consider is crosswalks.
Based on the remnants of old white paint that appears to have been part of crosswalk striping in the past, it seems like a crosswalk was once along part of Bagnoli Rose Lane. ADA compliant ramps are on either side of Northfork Drive. Each ramp is directly across from the other, which could signal to a pedestrian, that location is a safe place to cross Northfork Drive.
“Something needs to change. Something has to give,” Rutledge said. “Whether it be a stop sign, a speed bump, more lighting. Something needs to change.”