The City of Paso Robles is looking to relieve traffic congestion on Niblick Road.
Those who live nearby say it’s a traffic nightmare in the morning before work and in the afternoon when school is over.
The city agrees and is turning its sights on some possible solutions.
“This is one of our most used east-west arterials along the south side of town so it’s a very busy road,” said Dick McKinley, City of Paso Robles Public Works Director.
Niblick Road gets a lot of use. It’s one of four main roads in the city.
It’s home to Paso Robles High School and some shopping centers.
Residents that live off Niblick say it’s the busiest in the morning and mid-afternoon.
“It’s pretty horrendous to try to get to the freeway at that time,” said Jim Moore who lives off Niblick Road. “It’s basically a gridlock from right here at Country Club Drive all the way to the freeway pretty much, which is gosh, what, about a mile.”
“Basically, what happens in the morning, we have about a third of the traffic is trying to access Paso Robles High School and the rest of it is trying to move through that area to get to the Highway 101,” explained David Athey, City of Paso Robles Engineer.
Some residents say it’s so bad, they avoid the road during those peak hours.
“I either go into town before lunch, after 8 o’clock, 9 o’clock or after 3 because it’s just impossible,” said Susan Dollemore who also lives off Niblick Road.
“I always thought if we had an emergency and everybody had to get out of here and get to the freeway… boy oh boy, that’d be tough,” Moore added.
The City of Paso Robles is hoping to minimize the amount of time drivers are waiting in traffic.
“With no traffic at all and the lights are good, they’re all green, probably two or three minutes. In the mornings, you pretty much have to time for about 10 to 15 minutes,” Moore said.
City officials are working on coming up with some different.
“Some off the top of my head… we could bus children to school so get folks out of cars and get them into buses, walking, riding their bikes. We could stagger start and stop times with schools. Businesses could start earlier. Businesses could start later,” Athey said.
Another possibility is looking at the signal pattern.
“Niblick is a tough road,” McKinley said. “People try to find ways to not use it when it’s crowded and I think there are some positive things we can do with this road.”
This week, the city hired a consultant to work with them and do public outreach on the topic. It’s being paid for by a Caltrans grant.
The city wants to hear public feedback on solutions to improve Niblick Road. You can email or call the city. Notices will also be sent out.