Transportation

Neighbors Call For Pedestrian Safety Improvements As They Remember Woman Who Was Killed

Activists held a protest at the intersection where the longtime Montrose resident was hit. They’re appealing for more traffic enforcement and driver awareness.

It’s been six months since Polly Koch was struck and killed in a crosswalk at Richmond and Mandell Streets, just a few blocks from her apartment. One of the dogs she was walking was also killed. The driver of the truck who hit her wasn’t charged but Koch’s friends and neighbors say that needs to change.

They gathered Wednesday morning at the intersection bearing signs reading “No More Sacrifices To Traffic” and “Don’t Run Me Down.” Some morning commuters honked their horns in support.

Koch was a well-known writer and editor for local publications and she’d lived in the neighborhood for years. Longtime friend Jane Creighton said Koch’s death greatly affected a lot of people in the community.

“There are too many people being lost,” said Creighton. “Part of the work that Polly did as an editor and a writer was to think about questions of social justice and social progress. In a way, being here and listening also to my friends, it’s a way of continuing a conversation with Polly about how to address issues that affect all of us as a community.”

Also at the protest was Bike Houston Chairman Dan Piette. He said the problem is that there are too many drivers who simply aren’t looking out for walkers and cyclists.

“People are getting killed because drivers don’t understand and there’s just no consideration for pedestrians, bikers, and other drivers,” added Piette. “Right now it seems that if you’re in a truck and you hit a bike the correct defense is, oops, I didn’t see them. That is not acceptable.”

Recent studies have ranked Houston as one of the most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians. In his recent State of Mobility address, Mayor Sylvester Turner asked for the public’s help in identifying the city’s 10 most troublesome intersections.

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Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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