Crossing Crown Avenue by foot turned scary when Kevin Zhang '24 and a friend narrowly missed being hit by a car turning left from Foothill. “If we had been a few seconds later we would have been hit,” says Kevin about the nerve-rattling November 2021 incident. His experience echoed complaints he had heard from friends and family about the dangers of this intersection.
Wondering why there wasn’t a left-turn signal to protect the many people who cross this busy intersection every day, Kevin decided to take action by creating a petition. Over several months, Kevin collected signatures from students and teachers at Prep, secured support from St. Bede’s, and went door to door on the weekends to get signatures from local neighbors.
In May 2022, Kevin presented his petition with more than 300 signatures to the La Cañada City Council, asking the city to add a protected left turn signal for the benefit of the entire local community. Over the next ten months the work continued, as Kevin attended City Council meetings, coordinated with council members, and shared his presentation with the Public Works and Traffic Commission at the council’s request.
Kevin’s work paid off when the City Council approved $10,500 for a study of the intersection in March 2023. While the study and analysis will take time, it was exciting for Kevin to see the impact of his efforts. “When I first started the petition, I was afraid that the people wouldn’t care. I’m happy they listened to me and are working to do something to fix the issue.”
Have something you want to change in your community? Kevin says, “Don’t be afraid to take action. Kids feel like all the decisions are made by adults and that they really don't have a voice. You do have a voice, and you should use it accordingly.”