Council wants to convert the intersection at Merecroft and Alder into a four-way stop as soon as possible.
City staff earlier recommended council wait until 2014 because the budget has already been set for this year.
Council, however, had other ideas and chose to take the money from the road department’s existing operating budget to immediately implement the new traffic pattern. It’s expected to cost $2,300 to add two more stop signs at the intersection and put in road markings. It will cost another $2,500 to remove the flashing pedestrian light currently stationed at that intersection.
Coun. Ron Kerr said he’s purposely been driving down Alder several times in the past couple of weeks to investigate the issues plaguing Alder first-hand.
“I’m totally amazed by the amount of traffic that travels on that road and the speed that it travels on that road,” Kerr said. “It looks like Dogwood, really, half the time and that particular intersection is a problem. I’ve got concerns for pedestrians using the crosswalk there.”
City staff were recommending council improve traffic control at the Alder and Merecroft intersection after reviewing a traffic count conducted by the city this spring. Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager, suggested a four-way stop after ruling out a roundabout due to lack of space and nixing a traffic light because council has budgeted for only one traffic signal in 2014 and there are other intersections that are a higher priority. Staff, however, suggested council wait on the Alder and Merecroft intersection until an Alder Street review, scheduled for this fall, is complete.
Coun. Mary Storry said she would prefer not to wait but agreed with staff on choosing a four-way stop over other options so that the intersection at the top of her wish list for a traffic light – Petersen and 14th Avenue – doesn’t get bumped.
“I don’t want to delay getting this four-way stop in,” Storry said. “I certainly agree with the principle behind our staff’s recommendation regarding that we wait for a corridor review because I know when we fix one problem, we create another, and then we blame city hall staff. So I totally understand but I think we have to go out on a limb on this one.”
Council’s decision comes just two weeks after Alder Street resident Ted Haylow appeared before council, asking for changes to slow down speeding traffic.
“Ever since the reconfiguration to the lights on Dogwood and the modifications to the roadways on Murphy Street and Highway 19A, Alder Street has become a freeway for speeders and heavy traffic,” Haylow said. “Cars constantly speed, tail gate and most of all, drive without due care and attention. Our patience has run out; they use stop signs to slow traffic on four-lane roads in Palm Springs. Let’s learn something to save our roads and our lives.”