The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) voted Wednesday to support creating left-turn access restrictions on Highway 101 between Traffic Way and Los Berros Rd. south of Arroyo Grande.
At the meeting, the family of Jordan Grant, a Cal Poly student killed in a crash at the El Campo Road intersection, continued their fight to close intersection and for other safety improvements in the area.
“I’m also asking you to complete a right turn acceleration with guardrails immediately and finally I’m requesting that you consider the bigger picture and respond to the community’s calls for an overpass for both safety and justifiable economic reasons,” said James Grant, Jordan’s father.
SLOCOG’s traffic analyses of the closure show potential alternate routes adding between two and six minutes of drive time for commuters.
“All the different closure scenarios would add anywhere between 1,200 to about 2,500 vehicle miles traveled daily and this would increase greenhouse gas emissions anywhere from .013% to .023%,” said Stephen Hanamaikai, Transportation Planner for SLOCOG.
Arroyo Grande is concerned about the added traffic.
The city manager spoke before the council asking them to consider things like the study and design for legal u-turns at the Traffic Way on-ramp.
“The City of Arroyo Grande will support the approval and implementation of this project as long as the SLOCOG board, SLO County Board of Supervisors and Caltrans commit to full regional cooperation to mitigate impacts to the City of Arroyo Grande as part of this project,” said City Manager Jim Bergman.
Some community members questioned how the closures could impact them getting home or doing business.
“I live at El Campo and Highway 101 on the east side. I’ve been there for 20 years plus. There’s never been a fatality on our side of the road. I drive to and from work to San Luis Obispo and how do I get home?” said Linda Madison.
The new owners of Laetitia Vineyards also spoke out about their concerns of losing access to Tower Grove Dr., a road they say is necessary for them to be able to truck products in and out.
Ultimately, however, SLOCOG voted in support of creating plans to restrict left turn access and plan to include Arroyo Grande’s concerns in their plans as they move forward.
“Jordan knew no fear when it came to making sure people were driving safely so we knew if this happened to one of his friends, he would fix this. We promised them this in the first few days after he died that we’d get this done for him and there’s a certain measure of joy that we’ve been able to do that for,” Grant said.
Caltrans will now be working on creating an implementation plan for the left turn closures. A timeline is unknown at this time.
The county will submit a letter on April 23 that supports the findings of SLOCOG’s study and a potential action plan.
SLO County Supervisor Lynn Compton had to abstain from all of the discussions because she lives near the potential closure.