Clinton Bounds, 62, a longtime resident of West Hollywood, died after being hit by a car around 11 p.m. last night in a crosswalk in the 8700 block of Santa Monica Boulevard near Hancock.
Traffic Services officers in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the accident. As of 9:20 a.m. today, no charges had been filed.
Bounds, a native of San Antonio, Texas, retired from the LA County Registrar’s Office in 2008. He was a frequent patron of the gay bars on the west side of Santa Monica Boulevard and was known as a regular at Mickys, Revolver and Trunks. His Facebook page notes that he was at Mickys last night before the accident. Bounds was popular with the much younger nightlife crowd. His Facebook page contains photos of hundreds of friends, including various gay bar managers and promoters and go go dancers.
Last night’s accident is the second involving a pedestrian in a crosswalk this year. A 59-year-old man was hit in the crosswalk on Santa Monica Boulevard at Westmount on June 28. That pedestrian was flung into the air and landed on the car’s windshield. He was taken to the hospital and survived.
According to a report by the Sheriff’s Department earlier this year, the Hancock crosswalk, which has no warning lights, is the city’s most dangerous, with three pedestrian accidents last year and one involving a bicyclist. There also were three accidents involving pedestrians at the Palm Avenue crosswalk on Santa Monica Boulevard.
“It’s a tragedy, and we as a city need to respond and continue to think about how to improve pedestrian safety,” Mayor John D’Amico said of the accident. “We don’t have it right yet.”
Larry Block, one of the leaders of a citizens campaign to improve safety in the city’s pedestrian crosswalks, complained that the city wasn’t acting fast enough. “At the Public Safety (Commission) meeting, I said if another guy gets hit at a crosswalk the city will be liable because they knew that these crosswalks were dangerous,” Block said. “They allocated the money for the lights and the requests for proposals for lights have been sitting on a desk since last February.”
Block, who helped found Cross Safe WeHo, is referring to a vote by the City Council in February to authorize the city to seek bids to install flashing lights at the Hancock Avenue crosswalk and also on San Vicente Boulevard in front of the West Hollywood Library. Flashing lights already have been installed at three other locations: Santa Monica Boulevard at Westmount Drive and Orange Grove Avenue and Crescent Heights Boulevard at Norton Avenue.
During the February Council meeting, City Engineer Sharon Perlstein said it could take as long as six months before the crosswalk lights were installed.
“We’ll have to study the lighting at the intersections before it goes out to bid,” Perlstein told WEHOville. “That could take a month or two.”
Block said he has been told that the request for bids has not yet been released. City staffers have explained the delay by saying they are still studying various options for improving crosswalk safety. Block has argued that the city should install its special events flashing warning lights near crosswalks until it is able to install permanent flashing lights.
“John Heilman and I have been working on a plan with Transportation for crosswalks on Santa Monica and Sunset,” D’Amico said, referring to his fellow City Council member. “But I want to be clear, that doesn’t help the person who just died.
“As the city comes more and more of a busy place, more and more walkable, we can’t just respond. We have to be proactive… We need things that will work, not just make us feel better.”
On Aug. 3, the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station conducted a pedestrian safety operation that resulted in 40 tickets being issued to drivers and 17 to pedestrians for violating crosswalk safety laws.