- City of Austin Addresses Worst Traffic Signals
- Teen, Alexei Baureis, Hit on Spicewood Springs Rd
- Remembering Alexie, the talented dancer
An young Austin teen was hit and killed in an intersection with flashing yellow lights. Alexei was at a crosswalk, but there was no signal to the driver to stop. Traffic safety experts believe that a redesign of the intersection could have saved Alexei’s life. Now his family is seeking justice for their son by going to court with the city of Austin.
District Judge to Decide if City was Negligent in Ballet Dancer’s Death
A lawsuit filed in Travis County on behalf of the family of Alexei Bauereis claims that the city acted negligently in switching the traffic light system at the intersection of Rustic Rock and Spicewood Springs.
In court Wednesday, city officials argued for a judge to withdraw the lawsuit. They say it’s not up to the courts to determine how municipalities install traffic lights.
The parents of Alexei spoke with KXAN News saying “We have maintained from the very beginning of this whole situation there’s something wrong and we need to dig deep and find out what’s wrong. We need to fix it for our entire community, not just our son,” said Anna Baureis.
What do you think? Should intersections where the lights go to flashing yellow at night have a capability for pedestrian traffic to safely cross?
Parents of Teen Sue City, Driver for Negligence Causing Son’s Death
In a lawsuit filed in Travis County the family of teen, Alexei Bauereis, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the city and the driver in a crash that killed their son.
The lawsuit claims that the city acted negligently in switching the traffic light system a the intersection where the crash occurred. The flashing red light on Rustic Rock Drive and a yellow flashing signal on Spicewood Springs Road could be to blame for the fatal crash.
The lack of a red light means that the driver, Mason Currah, was not promoted to stop and therefore failed to yield to the right of way of the pedestrian at the crosswalk.
The button activating the protected walk signal for pedestrians does not function the way pedestrians expect a walk signal to. It does not activate the walk signal during the flashing yellow/red cycle.
Shortly following the fatal accident, the city of Austin shortened the timespan of the flashing yellow/red light cycle to two hours later from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The driver in the crash was reported to have stayed at the scene following the accident, called 911, and cooperated with law enforcement. The lawsuit filed in the case claims that Currah was driving in a negligent manner by exceeding the speed limit by 5 to 10 miles per hour. Additionally the lawsuit claims he was using his cellphone as a GPS and to play music, as well as before striking Alexei “he took his hand off the wheel and looked at his cell phone to rewind a song and replay it.”
Austin Transportation Changes Flashing Yellow Lights in Response to Fatality
Following the death of a 14-year-old in Northwest Austin, city of Austin Transportation Department has made immediate changes to the Spicewood Springs intersection. The teen, Alexei Baureis, was hit around 10:15 p.m. while flashing yellow lights signaled at the intersection.
When lights flash yellow, it indicates that the pedestrian has the right of way and drivers must yield.
Pedestrian safety advocates from Walk Austin say the lights failed Baureis as he crossed the street with his bicycle.
Now, Austin’s Department of Transportation has reduced the amount of time that the lights at the intersection flash yellow. Before the accident, flashing yellow lights would start at 9 p.m. Now the lights change from a red, yellow green signal to flashing yellow lights beginning at 11 p.m. and running until 6 a.m.
City of Austin officials say the flashing lights program is “temporary” and was implemented because more than 50 percent of the city’s signal detection devices were failing to work properly.
What’s next for the flashing yellow lights? The city is exploring modifying signals that are currently yellow flashing lights to go to a red signal when a pedestrian pushes the crossing button.
Transportation advocates are calling for change, and so are the parents of Alexei Baureis. In an interview with KXAN his parents stated that “In order to have a safe community, we need to have proper equipment, we need to obey the rules, and if any of those things were broken then there needs to be consequences for that.”
Engineers in Austin have a goal of evaluating at least one-third of the traffic signals each year. In total there are 950 traffic signals in Austin. Austinites can request an engineer to look at the timing of a signal by calling 311.
In a recent budget approved by Austin City Council, $1.3 million is going to the Austin Transportation Department to hire 13 new people whose role will be dedicated to timing traffic signals.
The Transportation Department recommends one engineer for every 200 signals. Austin is currently well below that recommendation with only four engineers for the 950 traffic signals in town. When engineers review and re-time signals, travel times can be reduced by up to 15 percent.
Family of Alexei Baureis Remembers His Talent for Dance
Family and friends of Alexei Baureis say that he was passionate about classical ballet dance. He aspired to become a classical ballet dancer, and had “big dreams” about a future in ballet.
He danced with Ballet Austin and other schools in the Austin and Killeen area.
Austin, TX – A third devastating child fatality crash occurred on Tuesday June 7, 2016 in northwest Austin. Police say 14-year-old Alexei Baureis crossed Spicewood Springs Road at Rustic Rock Drive. He was walking with another teenager, both were walking their bicycles across the road at a crosswalk. The driver of the vehicle, a Toyota 4 Runner, was traveling eastbound in the eastbound lanes on Spicewood Springs Road.
According to KXAN, the driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with police. Reports indicate that the traffic signals were inconsistent for the pedestrians and the driver. While Alexei and his friend walked their bicycles across the crosswalk, a flashing red light faced them. However for the driver a flashing yellow light was visible while approaching the crosswalk traveling eastbound. No alcohol has been reported as suspect in this crash for the driver or victim.
The friend was not hit. Alexei was taken to a Round Rock Hospital where he later passed.
Dangerous Roads at Root of Austin Injuries and Deaths
This is the third child fatality in less than a month. The tragic circumstances in all three have Austin officials and community members asking questions about how traffic safety can be improved in Central Texas.
Community organizations such as Vision Zero ATX and Bike Austin released statements Wednesday following the crash. Bike Austin stated, “This is the third child killed by a car while walking or bicycling in Austin in less than a month – that is simply unacceptable and our city leaders need to take action.” The statement continued to call for a change to Austin’s bicycle and pedestrian safety infrastructure.
Community members interviewed by KEYE stated that the sidewalk along Spicewood Springs road near Rustic Rock drive is often overgrown with thick weeds, and that it is small and close to the road.
Bike Austin has stated that bike lanes and sidewalks have been proven to reduce crashes by up to 38 percent on Austin’s streets.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this young Austinite. At McMinn Law Firm we work tirelessly to recover justice and resolution for Central Texans injured. We are dedicated to helping personal injury clients recover maximum fair, lawful compensation.