SUNLAND (CBSLA) — A San Fernando Valley road that’s been at the center of a major safety concern has finally gotten a big makeover.
On Friday local officials unveiled the changes to La Tuna Canyon Road.
“I don’t remember that day,” said Keith Jackson.
But Jackson’s family will never forget It. Dec. 9, 2017. The 53-year-old Burbank man was riding his bike on La Tuna Canyon Road — a ride he’d done hundreds of times. But this time ended differently.
“My son told me I was hit by a car going 50 mph. Left me on the side of the road,” said Jackson.
He had broken ribs, a punctured spleen and brain damage.
“I was in a coma for three weeks,” said Jackson.
His son Chris was riding with him.
“The fact that he’s alive and walking and talking. He has some deficits but is back to his old self,” said Chris Jackson.
His tragedy has led to change.
“They asked for help to advocate for safer streets, specifically on La Tuna Canyon,” said Damian Kevitt, who was also struck by a car while cycling. Kevitt is the executive director of SAFE — or Streets Are For Everyone. He started a petition that spearheaded the changes.
“We’re going to help to eliminate traffic deaths for pedestrians and cyclists,” said City Councilmember Monica Rodriguez.
The La Tuna Canyon safety project runs four miles between Sunland Boulevard and Tujunga Canyon Boulevard with more than a mile of roadway resurfaced.
The changes also include rumble strips, new signs and markings, and extra space for cyclists, horses and pedestrians.
“Everybody came together to make sure that tragic incident wasn’t in vain,” said Seleta Reynolds, the city Department of Transportation general manager.
Police say the changes have made a difference.
“People have slowed down. People are not passing each other in the center,” said LAPD Officer Andy Neiman.
Jackson just hopes it will keep others from going through what he endured.
“It’s been a tough year. Safer for everyone in the future,” said Jackson.
The driver that hit Jackson didn’t stop and has never been caught. It’s believed they were in a dark-colored or black Mazda SUV.