Safety concerns arise after a woman was fatally struck by multiple vehicles

Safety concerns arise after a woman was fatally struck by multiple vehicles

Pedestrians walking across the street without the right of way in Laguna Beach along side the Pacific Coast Highway.

























A woman was fatally struck by several vehicles while attempting to cross the street in Laguna Beach, on Sunday, Feb. 5, around 6 p.m. near the 30600 block, according to Laguna Beach police.

First responders administered medical treatment at the scene of the crash before rushing the victim, Willen Mari Alvarez, 32, of Mission Viejo, to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. According to investigators, she did not use the crosswalk when walking across the street. All southbound lanes were closed off on the Pacific Coast Highway from Nyes Place to Montage while the investigation was active.All drivers involved in the crash stayed at the scene and cooperated with police.

“We are deeply saddened by yet another pedestrian fatality on Coast Highway and we send our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased,” said Laguna Beach Mayor, Bob Whalen.”Coast Highway is owned and operated by Caltrans and we will reach out to them to determine if they can implement additional safety improvements to make the roadway safer for pedestrians.”

When asking local residents in Laguna Beach about their confidence when walking through the streets of the city and they feel that their safety could be at risk from drivers.  Several residents agreed that the evening is the most dangerous time to walk around the city.

 “During the day is safer because you can see more, but at night it’s definitely a danger,”, said Logan Thomson, Laguna Beach local.

“Sometimes you’ll see some street racing Subaru going 80 miles an hour trying to be cool,” said Zack Looney, a Laguna Beach resident, when asked if vehicles respect pedestrians walking, walkways, and street signs. “Luckily there is a lot of police presence in the area, and I see people get pulled over a lot so I think the police are somewhat on top of it but, there could be more to handle that for sure,” said Looney.

Laguna Beach occupies approximately 8.84 square miles and has a population of fewer than 23,000 and welcomes about six million visitors each year according to the city’s official website. One resident believes that population and amount of tourists may have to do with pedestrian safety and driver awareness. 

“There’s a lot of people taking pictures and watching the sunset but not what’s in front of them,” said a local resident who requested to not be identified. “I get that the ocean is extremely pretty and [tourists] aren’t doing anything malicious but taking pictures but people should be more self-aware, especially when visiting a new place,”

“Laguna Beach is one of the richest cities in the state,” said Dylan Trent after being asked what the city could do to make the streets safer. “I believe that there could be a lot more done to the city such as more street lights and maintaining the older street signs and ground signals.”

According to First Team Real Estate Laguna Beach’s average sale price of homes was over three million dollars back in 2021 and holds a reported median household income of around $130,000 with a 6.32% poverty rate. Although the PCH is not owned by the city, but by Caltrans.

Clatran’s strategic plan for the years 2020-2024 states they’re implementing strategies to confront “growing problems: increase in fatalities, serious injuries, and crashes.,”, For more information of the California 1 highway visit Caltrans official website for any updates and changes to the interstate.