• Traffic Commission will tackle pedestrian safety in school zones

    By Cameron Douglas

    At the recent Traffic Safety Commission meeting, Commissioner Winston Elstob expressed concern about the safety of children dropped off in front of Robert Down School. He witnessed incidents where parents pulled up alongside parked cars and allowed their kids to get out on the traffic side of the vehicle. “Why do parents do that?” said Elstob. “We used to have traffic wardens. I don’t know why they can’t do that again.” He also noted that many cars made U-turns in front of the school, but PG Police Chief Engles said that U-turns are legal in a residential area if they commence from the lane nearest the center of the roadway.

    “It’s an ongoing issue of education and enforcement, with a new group of parents every year,” said Engles. “The double-parking and loading has been a problem. Until you have some infrastructure there that will permanently prohibit that, you’ll have those situations pop up from time to time.” He emphasized that enforcement of this kind only works when there is a designated officer who consistently watches the schools, and that is difficult to do in view of recent cutbacks.chief-engles-web

    The panel discussed different kinds of signage for school zones. It was suggested that a follow-up by local newspapers in July or August would alert parents to the need for safety in time for the start of the new school year.

    Progress has been made on the flashing crosswalk project near the high school on Sunset. All the major components are installed. PG&E is set to check everything and make the connection; possibly by the time this article goes to press. Once power is confirmed, the actual crosswalk components are ready to go in. The project could be done as early as June 19.

    The panel had a long discussion about the Pedestrian Safety Assessment. Commissioner Roehl produced charts of pedestrian accidents from 1996 to 2008, and pointed out that other surveys had been done which are worthy of consideration. Said Roehl: “If the Traffic Commission is making those recommendations to prioritize pedestrian safety projects, we should look at where problems are most serious, and not just at the locations that our traffic experts looked at. We should look at solutions beyond those made in the Pedestrian Safety Assessment.” The panel created a subcommittee to generate a list of prioritized pedestrian safety projects and their costs. The public will be notified when the subcommittee is to meet.leinen-and-prock-web

    Regarding pedestrian safety in the vicinity of the Sally Griffin Center, debate continues over the best way to get slow-moving seniors safely across the places where Jewell, Pacific, 19th and Briggs Avenue converge. Traffic Engineer Knisely recommended extending the red curb on the south side of the street across from the Center. This would prevent parked cars from obstructing eastbound drivers’ line of sight to a new crosswalk. Public Works Director Celia Martinez and Knisely agreed that would probably eliminate the need for an eastbound stop sign. Improved signage and “rumble strips” were also recommended to alert drivers to the possible presence of pedestrians in the crosswalk. This will all be carried over for further discussion at the next meeting.

    The Commission continued its discussion on speeding cars coming down 68 and cutting through a neighborhood along Stuart Avenue and Seaview. Engles said, “We did send some officers up there. We wrote about 20 tickets in four hours.” Martinez spoke with Cal Trans, who invited the City to come up with a detailed plan which they will evaluate to determine if it’s within their jurisdiction. Most of the panel agreed that Stuart would probably need to be closed off and neighborhood traffic routed to Bishop. However, input from the neighborhood is still wanted.

    The Pacific Grove Traffic Safety Commission receives complaints having to do with traffic matters, and recommends to the City Council ways and means for improving traffic conditions and the administration and enforcement of traffic regulations. The Commission also reviews and makes recommendations to Council regarding bicycle and pedestrian facilities within the City

    Traffic Safety Commission meetings are open to the public and all interested persons are welcome to attend. The City of Pacific Grove does not discriminate against individuals with disabilities and meetings are held in accessible facilities.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on June 11, 2009

    Topics: Current Edition, Front PG News, Cameron Douglas


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