More in City Hall:
- Q&A: Why is Citrus Heights spending millions on a trail instead of repaving roads? September 13, 2020
- The Civic Minute: what’s happening at Citrus Heights City Hall? September 10, 2020
- COVID-19: Results released for first ‘FlashVote’ survey in Citrus Heights September 6, 2020
Sentinel staff report–
Following a series of collisions around the Thanksgiving Day holiday, temporary orange barricades have been set up and one left-turn lane has again been eliminated at the intersection of Old Auburn Road and Fair Oaks Boulevard in Citrus Heights.
Nichole Baxter, the city’s newly hired communications officer, said on Wednesday that the barricades and turn-lane elimination were put into effect the day after Thanksgiving “to continue to provide safety and protection for pedestrians and property owners.”
Resident Jesse Durham, who lives near the intersection, told The Sentinel there were at least three collisions in the three days surrounding Thanksgiving, causing him to worry if a car would crash all the way through the existing planter box barriers and into his home.
Baxter said the temporary barriers will remain until the city’s traffic management team replaces the existing damaged planter box barriers. She said the second left-turn lane from Fair Oaks onto Old Auburn will also be closed “for at least the next few weeks, as we continue to evaluate safety measures for the intersection.”
The city previously temporarily modified lanes at the intersection as part of a nine-day “road diet” experiment in October, which caused an uproar from drivers upset about increased traffic for vehicles.
The experiment included reducing the two left-turn lanes from Fair Oaks onto Old Auburn down to one lane and creating a dedicated right-turn lane instead. Old Auburn Road was also reduced down to one lane, with the second lane replaced by a bike lane.
Durham said he supports the turn lane modification due to it helping address the problem of drivers “turning left hard-and-fast from the right-hand lane,” but acknowledged it backs up traffic on Fair Oaks.
“It adds more traffic down the Fair Oaks corridor, but makes it less likely that someone will come flying through that intersection at a ridiculous speed,” he said. He also said the temporary orange barriers help catch driver’s eyes and are “certainly better than nothing.”
The City of Citrus Heights is currently developing a plan for improving traffic safety on Old Auburn Road, known as the Old Auburn Road Complete Streets Plan. An upcoming workshop is scheduled for Dec. 17 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church.
A prior workshop was held in March, where residents provided feedback on problem areas of the roadway and suggested possible improvements.
Baxter said all community members are invited to the upcoming workshop, “especially those who experienced our temporary improvements to Old Auburn Road in October.” Opportunities will be available to give feedback and learn more about improvements being considered for the roadway, she said.
Following the workshop, city staff will compile feedback and research and begin finalizing a plan by February 2020. The plan will then go before the Planning Commission, followed by final consideration by the City Council.
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