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Several ranking police officers and the city’s traffic engineer addressed traffic concerns from residents in a live question-and-answer broadcast on Facebook last month, as part of the city’s latest Q&A series about local issues.
Questions raised during the 10-minute live session ranged from complaints about traffic in school zones, speeding and speed bumps, removing back-to-back stop signs and more. Responses to questions were answered by Traffic Sgt. Shaun Gualco, Lt. Kris Frey, and the city’s Principal Civil Engineer Leslie Blomquist.
Highlights from the Sept. 19 live session are included below. The full video can also be watched on the city’s Facebook page.
Question: Something needs to be done on the Carriage Drive curve from Pratt Avenue to Lauppe Lane. It’s a no parking zone, but at school pickup parents park or wait in their cars on both sides.
Engineer: “We are actually working on a plan looking at all of Carriage, all of Lauppe, all the way from Auburn to Antelope. What we can do to improve safety for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists as well as how to get people in and out of the school parking lots and campuses more easy. We’re calling it the Carriage-Lauppe, Safe Schools Corridor Plan.”
Sergeant: “On the enforcement side, just a clarification on parking versus no stopping. I’ve been personally out there with complaints and the difference between no stopping, is obviously no stopping any time. No parking means just don’t leave your car behind there. So don’t leave your car abandoned. But if you’re waiting to pick up your kid, you’re good to go there. So hopefully that clarifies that.”
Question: Can something be done about the eastbound off ramp on Antelope Road, the exit going right towards Garden Gate and van Marin? Is there any improvements going on in this area?
Engineer: “We actually have done a complete review of the entire I-80 interchange, including the intersection at Garden Gate. Right now we’re just looking for construction funds to do that. But I agree that weaving — as you come off of eastbound 80 getting onto Garden Gate — it is challenging to negotiate. So we are hoping to find some construction funds to start the design and construction of that in the next few years.
Question: Traffic consistently backs up at Wachtel and Old Auburn stop signs. Is the city working on any solutions? Is a stoplight being considered? Has the city looked at removing the back-to-back stop signs along Old Auburn Road?
Engineer: “Yes. We’ve done a lot of review and observations at this location. When it first went in in 2015, I believe, a complete study was done and the stop sign was recommended. Just last year we did a follow up study to make sure that nothing has changed that would warrant any removal or installation of a traffic signal in its place, and it is recommended to stay as is now. But we are continuing to monitor and, when the time comes, a signal is something we’re looking at and making sure that we look into on a regular basis.
Lieutenant: “We’ve also met with a lot of residents out in the area to discuss their concerns about that specific stop sign. There’s also been some concerns about some traffic safety along Old Auburn as you’d get up towards Wachtel. I would encourage anybody out there if you see anything that’s concerning to you, please call our Traffic Tip Line at (916) 727-5500 we have had our motor officers as well as our patrol officers who have been out there several times making sure that that stretch of roadway to safe leading up to Wachtel.
Question: When are they going to start patrolling Van Maren and Antelope? The curve is dangerous and people think it’s a drift track.
Sergeant: “There has been a few collisions at that intersection. In the city, the number one primary cause of collisions is speed and we take that violation extremely seriously and actually the number one cited violation that the police department cites is speed. So we’re always constantly looking for our speeders because that’s the number one cause of collisions. So we’re in that area. We’re often in that area and we’ll continue to enforce it.”
Engineer: “Recently we put up some new chevron signs (directional arrows) to increase the visibility, reminding people to make the turn as they come southbound from Antelope. We also installed a radar speed feedback sign, so it flashes at you to slow down or if you’re going too fast around that curve. The recommended speed is 20 miles per hour as you’re coming around there, and that was based on the engineering survey recently. We’ve applied for some grants to do some other stuff too. And so we’re hoping that we can get some money to do some physical improvements as well.”
Question: How do you get speed bumps in your neighborhood?
Engineer: “We actually have another study that we’re working on. It’s called the Multi-Modal Transportation Safety Program… This is a citywide look at our neighborhood traffic calming program. Speed humps, speed bumps, signs, striping, bike lanes. All of that is included.
“Of course you can always call the General Services Department at (916) 727-4770 to make the request, but we’re also looking for neighborhood champions and representatives to help us kind of establish the program and see how we can prioritize these improvements that are being requested.”
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