State officials meet to discuss traffic safety through Clear Creek
Rob Lee, president of the Clear Creek Community Services District, joined Wiegand at the meeting to explain the situation and discuss solutions to the problem.
Wiegand said her vision for the project is the installation of two electrically powered speed radar signs that register a motorist’s speed as he or she passes through the community from either the east or west direction. She said additional signs warning motorists of approaching park with children and dogs crossing the roadway would also be needed. Rumble strips about 100 yards past each radar sign might be appropriate as well, she said.
In a short update on the progress of the project Wiegand said she had raised some money but not nearly enough to purchase and install radar signs. Pacific, Gas and Electric Company would allow the community to power the signs with electricity from nearby poles but under state law they could not allow them to have free service. However the Clear Creek Homeowners Association would probably cover the small fee.
Wiegand said she wanted some suggestions from Caltrans on how to handle the safety issue.
Lemkin said the state would most likely allow the Clear Creek community to install the signs on Highway 147 with the proper encroachment permit. However it was not an area where Caltrans would place speed radar feedback signs. The state has installed a few of these signs in areas where there have been a substantial number of accidents but only as an interim measure during the completion of a safety project.
“We have looked at the history here and the traffic speeds and looking at the data it doesn’t appear to warrant those measures,” said Lemkin.
He added that the signs are fairly new and formal studies have not yet shown them to be effective. Westoby said there are over 100 speed zones through towns and all are now requesting the radar speed signs and there are not enough funds to cover the cost.
“If you get a lot of requests for them, that means they work,” said Lee.
There were other safety measures that cannot be covered with state funds. Crosswalks with flashing lights are installed according to the number of children crossing per hour and the amount of cross traffic. The volumes are fairly high, said Lemkin.
Westoby cautioned against painting a crosswalk on the roadway stating it often gave children and others crossing a false sense of security and increased their chance of being hit by a car.
Placing of rumble strips in the roadway does not fit the federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices that establishes a nationwide standard.
Although not a permanent solution to the problem, Powell said she had arranged for the CHP radar trailer to be placed in Clear Creek over the fourth of July.
“We will make the commitment to be more proactive here,” said Powell. “I will encourage my guys to spend a little more time over here shooting radar and doing enforcement. If any signage is put up we will get the message out that it is being enforced.”
At the end of the meeting Lemkin and Westoby took a walk through the area to see where the problem streets were located. According to data Powell had gathered, since 1998 there had been three auto crashes at Spring Creek Drive, three at Wilson Way and two at Clear Creek Drive, all residential streets that connect to Highway 147. However the data would only include reportable accidents and therefore the number could be higher, said Powell.
Wiegand said she had received a follow-up call Monday, May 20, from the office of Senator Cox regarding the meeting at Clear Creek Park. She reported she told the Senator’s representative the community needed more help in obtaining the radar signs than had been offered. He said he would discuss the findings with Lemkin.
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