City Hall, Police

Police, city working to address crashes at Citrus Heights intersection

Collisions
The intersection of Fair Oaks Boulevard and Old Auburn Road is the site of numerous vehicle-vs-planter box collisions. // CH Sentinel

Sentinel staff report–
Citrus Heights police issued a news release on Friday after yet another collision involving a vehicle and a planter box occurred at the intersection of Old Auburn Road and Fair Oaks Boulevard. The intersection is known for hand-written signs being posted showing the tally of how many times the planter box has been hit over the past few years.

A sign that appeared at the intersection after a crash in 2017.

The collisions have also been the recent subject of discussion on social media, prompting police to announce plans to beef up enforcement at the intersection.

“The Citrus Heights Police Department wants the community to know we will be conducting extra traffic enforcement at this intersection,” police said in Friday’s statement. Officers will be pulling over drivers and handing out citations “for all observed traffic violations.”

Police said about 8,000 vehicles make a left turn onto westbound Old Auburn Road from Fair Oaks Boulevard each day. A recent survey police cited found 71 percent of vehicles travelling northbound on Fair Oaks Boulevard were driving over the posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour.

Additionally, police said nearly 70 percent of all collisions at the intersection have occurred during rainy or wet roadway conditions, and 30 percent were due to “driver impairment, the result of poor driving habits or illegal DUI.”

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The intersection is also being evaluated for possible engineering improvements as part of a comprehensive plan the city is currently developing for the heavily trafficked stretch of Old Auburn Road, from Sylvan Corners to Fair Oaks Boulevard. The city will hold a Community Open House regarding its Old Auburn Road Complete Streets Plan on March 26, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church.

In Friday’s news release, police said planter boxes at the intersection of Fair Oaks Boulevard and Old Auburn Road were installed 10 years ago “to reduce the potential of a vehicles hitting a pedestrian or going through rear-yard fences.” Rather than a rigid barrier, the city opted for a barrier that has some “give” in order to reduce the possibility of injury.

The latest planter-box collision involved a driver who fled the scene before officers arrived, police said. The driver has not yet been identified.

Want to share your thoughts on what can be done to reduce collisions at this intersection? Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Police noted that while the city is committed to evaluating roadways to ensure traffic safety, motorists and pedestrians also bear responsibility to “follow the rules of the road.” The following tips are offered by police to reduce collisions:

  • Never drive faster than the posted speed limit.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely and always leave enough space to allow yourself time to respond to changing traffic conditions.
  • Slow down and give yourself additional space when roadways are wet.
  • Stay in your lane until you can change lanes safely.
  • Never make sudden lane changes.
  • Never drive while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs of any kind.