Mar 1, 2011 10:07 PM by Ariel Wesler

City leaders could approve speed limit on Union Valley Parkway

Santa Maria city leaders are expected to give the green light to a speed limit on the Union Valley Parkway.

Currently, signs are posted between Blosser Road and Broadway, but the speed limit have not been approved, so officers cannot enforce it yet.

Neighbors have complained about drivers speeding through the area. The city says the signs were posted early at the request of residents living in the area to get drivers to slow down.

Some people living near the Union Valley Parkway say it looks more like a speedway.

"They probably go about 60, 65 miles per hour. I don't know what the big hurry is, said Mario Gomez of Santa Maria.

He lives in the Foxenwood Estates Community right off the parkway.

"I figure a stop sign would be very ideal, and it would make people slow down a little bit," Gomez said.

He also wants to see crosswalks across the parkway to make the area safer for the many cyclists and pedestrians.

"They have to be looking in both directions to make sure there are no cars coming 60 miles per hour and then they run to go to the other side," Gomez said.

The city argues that's the point. Engineers fear crosswalks on a high speed road would give pedestrians a false sense of security.

"The nature of the roadway is for the major arteriole to have right of way and the minor roadways yield," said Hallie Holden, a city traffic engineer.

The city says it would need to see more evidence before putting in a four way stop.

"Delay to side streets. A certain number of accidents that are correctable by a four way stop sign in a 12 month period," Holden said.

The city hopes once the council approves the speed limit, law enforcement can work the area and slow down traffic.

"We are going to have the Santa Maria Police Department out there enforcing the speed limit," Holden said.

But Gomez isn't so sure policing will solve the problem.

"It's just a matter of time before there's a fatal accident."

On the east side of Broadway, the parkway is more isolated, so the speed limit is 50 mph. Engineers say speed limits are usually evaluated every five years and can change based on driver behavior

The city says there have been two accidents since that portion of the parkway opened in December. Both were caused by driver error.


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