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Center Avenue Neighbors Demanding Stop Signs

Residents want stop signs on Center Avenue where it intersects with Redwood Drive

For the people who live near the the intersection of Center Avenue and Redwood Drive in southern Martinez, that crossroads is literally an accident waiting to happen.

In fact, one did happen. Just a week go.

A Ford truck and a Chevy SUV collided when police say the driver of the truck pulled out of the Hidden Valley Park parking lot and in front of the sport utility vehicle that was traveling rapidly down Center Avenue. Two passengers in the SUV were injured.

This was the third accident this year in that vicinity. The other two were non-injury accidents that happened in March and August. In all three, speeding was either the primary or secondary cause.

Last week's accident has prompted neighbors to demand that stop signs be installed in both directions of Center Avenue at Redwood Drive.

At its quarterly meeting a few days after the accident, the city's Traffic Safety Committee discussed the intersection.

Martinez Police Lt. Jon Sylvia, a committee member, said the group decided to ask public works employees to trim the hedges in the center median for better visibility as well as order another speed survey for the road.

The committee also plans to hire a consultant to study the neighbors' request for stop signs. There are nearby stop signs now on Center Avenue at Glacier Drive and Beechwood Drive.

Police will also increase enforcement on the busy 60-foot-wide thoroughfare.

"We're always concerned about how residents perceive safety and the quality of life in their neighborhoods," said Sylvia.

For Olav Phillips, the stop signs can't come soon enough. The Redwood Drive resident witnessed last Monday's accident and helped the driver and young passenger in the SUV.

Phillips said cars come hurtling down the south side of Center Avenue without a good view of the Redwood Drive intersection.

He added there is extra traffic around 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. every weekday because parents are dropping off and picking up children at nearby Hidden Valley Elementary School.

Add to that the traffic going in and out of Hidden Valley Park and he says it's a recipe for disaster.

"It's dangerous. It's unreal," Phillips said.

Tony and Yvonne Stockl agree. The Redwood Drive couple cross Center Avenue most days to walk their dog at the park. They are extra cautious when they enter the painted crosswalk.

"You need to look closely and be very, very careful," said Yvonne Stockl.

Sylvia said the traffic consultant will look at all these factors when deciding whether to recommend stop signs.

He said there have been 16 accidents on the entire length of Center Avenue the past two years. Ten of those happened in the commercial area near Interstate 680.

A speed survey taken in 2009 showed that 85 percent of motorists drive 30 miles per hour or less on Center Avenue. That means 15 percent exceed 30 miles per hour. The posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour.

Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles December 18, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Thank you Beverly for leaving a comment about the topic.
Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles December 18, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Well another accident happened on Center Ave over the weekend. This time it was just West of Center & Redwood. A car came speeding west on Center just passing Redwood Dr. hit a parked car, crashed over the center divide coming to rest against a pole and damaging the residents front bushed and yard close to Elderwood dr. It looks to be another speeding accident. So maybe a stop sign would have prevented this accident? Who knows. You can not measure the close calls at this intersection. Epically when school in getting in or out. I hope the city gets off their butts and puts in stop signs. Now that this is an issue it may become a liability for the city if they do not take action.
Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles December 18, 2012 at 03:17 PM
The video and the timing do not show what it is really like.
Chris J Kapsalis December 18, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I just feel our situation is much worse and as I said we have to prioritize. Speeding around a blind turn into a school zone where kids are walking to school crossing the street? I am just making the point there are a lot of bad roads in Martinez. Palm ave, Brown Street, Shell, and I am sure many more. I think we need to see what is worse and start at the worst roads first. money is tight, police cannot be everywhere. It is a big city over all and I am on topic, sorry if you don't think so.
George March December 19, 2012 at 05:22 PM
The article here is requesting a stop sign as a fix-all. That is great if it is actually followed under the law. At the 'T' intersection of Alhambra Way and Linden Lane there has been a stop sign since the late '80s. It is regularly ignored. Rolling "stops" are the norm where an actual stop (0 mph) is very unusual. That typically only happens at the rare occurrence of a MPD car sitting in a remarkably obvious position "waiting to catch someone" - which they never will because they are so duh-obvious. (One was there last week. When he left he rolled right on through the stop sign - so what does that say as an example for following the law?) I'd say this stop sign maybe gets folks to slow down to around 5-10mph before they blast on through. A good 5% of the cars don't even slow down. If a radar trailer could trigger a photo and ticket drivers that exceed the posted limit, then they would make sense using, otherwise it is just a challenge. Other stuff? How about drivers passing on the right, through the intersection, of a car that HAS stopped? Seen it. It's been months since a bicyclist has stopped (or even slowed down). I've even seen families bicycling... one of the kids stops and the parent yells at them for stopping... Seen it. That is the typical respect a stop sign garnishes around here. So even if one gets installed on Center Ave., don't expect that it will end all of the things that currently happen there.

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