Menlo Park resident Emiko Chen was struck by a vehicle and killed last night while walking at the intersection of El Camino Real and Alejandra Avenue, according to Menlo Park police and the Santa Clara County Coroner's Office.
The accident occurred shortly after 8 p.m., and Ms. Chen, 86, died from her injuries at Stanford Hospital. Because she died in Santa Clara County, that county's coroner's office handled the case.
The driver remained on the scene of the accident, where he was interviewed, then released, by police, Menlo Park Police Sgt. Tim Brackett said in a news release.
The 59-year-old driver is a resident of Redwood City, and was driving a minivan, Sgt. Matthew Ortega of the Menlo Park Police department said.
Police determined that Ms. Chen was walking "in or about the crosswalk" when she was struck.
The crosswalk, just north of Menlo College in Atherton, has been the site of other vehicle-pedestrian accidents, and is in line to have pedestrian-controlled lights installed. However, they aren't scheduled to be activated until 2017.
It's a California Transportation Department project and cannot be fast-tracked, Atherton Mayor Rick DeGolia said. "Oh, man, we've tried. We're all over them," he said. "It's extremely frustrating."
Caltrans will not accelerate the installation of signals in Atherton because they're part of a larger project to address traffic safety at 48 intersections along El Camino Real, Mr. DeGolia said.
At its own expense, the town of Atherton is putting in a light at Almendral Avenue, the site of a fatal accident between a vehicle and a pedestrian in 2014. The installation cost of around $250,000 will not be eligible for reimbursement from Caltrans, Mr. DeGolia said.
The problem with that stretch of El Camino is that drivers go faster because the road expands to three lanes and because there's no commerce on the sides of the road that would cause traffic to slow, he said.
Last night's accident happened on northbound El Camino Real, which at that intersection is within the jurisdiction of the Menlo Park police, Sgt. Ortega said.
First on the scene were medics who happened by the accident in a Lucile Packard Children's Hospital ambulance, Sgt. Ortega said.
Those medics called Menlo Park police and administered first aid until medics from a regular ambulance arrived and took the woman to the hospital, Sgt. Ortega said.
The town of Atherton and several other public agencies were named in a 2012 lawsuit filed by the mother of a teenager who in 2011 was struck while in the El Camino-Alejandro crosswalk. The girl suffered a broken pelvis and brain injuries.
The town did a study on safety on El Camino Real that went back 14 years, Mr. DeGolia said. The study showed 39 accidents that were either fatal or resulted in serious injuries, with 36 of them involving someone crossing the street.
The town should be looking at whatever it can do to make El Camino safer in the interim, he said. Flags that pedestrians can carry and wave at traffic while crossing an intersection have been discussed, he said. "We should be taking action on that next month," Mr. DeGolia said.
Menlo Park police are continuing the investigation, and ask that anyone who may have witnessed the accident or who have additional information contact the department at 650-330-6300, or on the anonymous tip line at 650-330-6395.