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SLOCOG approves funding for traffic study of El Campo intersection

Posted at 5:52 PM, Dec 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-05 21:44:38-05

The San Luis Obispo County Council of Governments (SLOCOG) met Wednesday morning to discuss with the community whether the intersection of Highway 101 and El Campo Road should be closed.

It comes after an 18-year-old Cal Poly student, Jordan Grant, was killed in a crash while riding his motorcycle through the intersection in Arroyo Grande.

Members of SLOCOG can’t close or make any changes to highway intersections. In this case, only the county or Caltrans can do so.

However, SLOCOG helps bring community leaders and people together to talk about such issues.

Wednesday morning, it agreed to fund $30,000 of a $75,000 traffic study.

“We can’t bring Jordan back, but we can stop the next Jordan from being hurt,” said James Grant, Jordan Grant’s father.

The Grant family and many others are pushing for change at the crossing.

“Our freeways have gotten a lot busier in the last 20 years. The traffic on a holiday weekend is dangerous and I feel they have to close it,” said Lesley Kearney, who survived a car accident at the intersection in 2008.

Ten years later, Kearney still deals with the trauma and hopes no one is injured or killed there again.

“I feel terrible that an 18-year-old boy has lost his life on something that could have been prevented by safer intersections,” Kearney added.

While some called for a closure, others are concerned it would impact evacuation routes, access to nearby businesses and commutes.

“Taking that away would be really detrimental and time-consuming, expensive for people that live there and just a real bother really,” said Mari Tonascia, an Arroyo Grande resident.

But the Grant family thinks it would be worth closing the intersection even though it might add a few minutes to commutes.

“I have very little sympathy for someone that talks about convenience over public safety. In fact, I have no sympathy for that,” Grant said.

At the meeting, Caltrans said it was looking at some temporary fixes.

SLOCOG can’t close highways, but they can help decide long-term solutions like adding an overpass.

“We essentially added some funding to get the stakeholders together and see if we can move forward on some immediate action,” said Tom O’Malley, SLOCOG President.

Previous traffic studies found on average about 63,000 cars pass through the intersection every day.

SLOCOG will hold a meeting to discuss the traffic study and potential immediate solutions with stakeholders next week.