Residents ask Caltrans to reduce speed limits on Hwy 97

Liz Pyles
Weed residents expressed concerns and offered solutions to dangerous and congested areas along Hwy 97 to Caltrans Transportation Planners in an open house at Weed City Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017.

Members of the Weed community spent nearly two hours sharing their safety concerns about the speed of traffic, dangerous crosswalks, and congested intersections along Hwy 97 to Caltrans transportation planners on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017.

Caltrans is in the process of updating a 2003 Transportation Concept Report for Hwy 97 and held an open house to receive input from the community.

According to a Caltrans handout, “TCRs have a 20-year planning horizon in which to evaluate whether today’s highways meet future needs.”

Sharon Ray, a long time resident that lives off of Hwy 97 on Hoy Road, stressed the importance of reducing the speed limit on the highway where Lincoln Ave and Hoy Road intersect with Hwy 97. “If you would reduce the speed, you would reduce the death rate,” she said. Ray said she has known seven people who were killed in that area.

Weed City Councilman, Stacey Green said he lives in that area and also knows people who have been killed in accidents there.

Holly Hansard said she would like to see the speed reduced all the way to Angel Valley.

Several others of the 37 people that attended also spoke about the need to reduce the speed limit.

The posted speed limit in the area of Lincoln Avenue, where a crosswalk is located, is 50 miles per hour.

Caltrans Associated Transportation Planner, Aaron Casas explained a speed study is required before speed limits can be changed. He said that from data obtained in the speed study, speed limits are set at the speed at which 85 percent of the cars are going. A speed study could actually raise the speed limit.

Casas said they first try to use alternative treatments to slow drivers down such as more signage, lights, paint striping, and rumble strips.

Other areas of concerns, brought up by the community, are the CAL FIRE exit onto Hwy 97 that gets blocked by traffic, trucks using residential roads to get to the highway, lack of landscaping in the triangle in front of Pizza Factory, the crosswalk at Boles Street, the intersection at College Ave. and South Weed Blvd.

One resident spoke about the lack of adequate lighting at the Boles Street crosswalk and reported knowing of three deaths that occurred there.

Marcelino Gonzalez, also a Caltrans Associated Transportation Planner, said they look for quick solutions. Casas said they also look for solutions that can fit into the budget, otherwise it could take ten to 20 years solve the problems.