Sunday, February 25, 2024

Community Voices: Mobility & Traffic Calming Working Group Report on Third & Fourth Streets Traffic Calming Study

To the Mayor and Council Members:

I am adamantly opposed to implementation of the traffic calming study, especially the addition of traffic lights at Third and Fourth on B Avenue. If this report and its recommendations are implemented by the City, I am convinced it will destroy most of our established traffic patterns, gridlock the majority of traffic flow, send commuter traffic diverting all over the city, and waste a horrendous amount of tax payer’s money. This will work to the detriment, NOT the mobility, of both commuters and residents, and significantly increase our air pollution.

And the term “traffic calming” is a complete farce. It simply reflects the City’s penchant to overly control (restrict) all traffic flow, and calm (slow) it down to the point of driver frustration if not road rage. Examples are the use of 15 mph speed bumps in 25 mph zones; incessant use of stop signs (4-way stop at Second and C did not prevent a recent accident); very short green light times, especially for residents; bulb outs; raised crosswalks; and now (potentially) a flurry of new traffic lights on Third and Fourth. For the most part, reducing speeds does NOT improve safety, as recently stated by our own Police Chief. And illegal turns and failure to yield, the largest causes of accidents, will not be addressed by slowing and impeding all traffic.

I recently sent you an email suggesting construction of pedestrian tunnels under Third and Fourth Streets, a very viable solution to completely separate pedestrians and bicyclists from all vehicles, but so far the silence is deafening on consideration of this idea, and many others from residents as well. It’s more than frustrating that the City is willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on traffic studies and consultants, then blindly follow their recommendations, while ignoring inputs from most residents – especially those living on B Avenue. There are better ways to solve the Third & Fourth traffic problems than to bring traffic to a standstill, and create another “freeway” on B Avenue, which will be the result of a bunch more traffic lights.

While there are some viable recommendations in the study, it is time for the City to actually listen to ALL residents, and the way to do that is to have a city-wide vote before implementation of this Traffic “Calming” Study.


Jim Newhall

637 J Avenue

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