October 16, 2018 05:58 PM
Parents and children
heading to school or Sinsheimer Park in San Luis Obispo’s Laurel Lane area will
have safer streets to walk and bike on with the recent completion of safety
improvements, according to city officials.
reduced street crossing distances for pedestrians and new crosswalks designed
with higher visibility for drivers are part of a $2.5 million upgrade — of
which $2.1 million has already been spent, San Luis Obispo officials said.
A 2015 Traffic Safety Report ranked the
intersection at Laurel and Southwood Drive among the most dangerous for vehicle
collisions with pedestrians on city-maintained streets. In a 2016 report, no
Laurel Lane intersections rose to the same level of concern.
More than 180 people
cross Laurel Lane every day, including children and parents making their way to
and from Sinsheimer Elementary School and Sinsheimer Park, as well
as seniors and those using the community garden and local marketplace.
The completed street
improvements included widening the sidewalk at two intersections: Laurel Lane
and Augusta Street, and Laurel Lane and Southwood Drive.
Crews removed a
driving lane in each direction of Laurel Lane, but added a center turn lane.
About 30 on-street parking spaces were added as well, with more space available
from the driving lane reductions.
“These types of projects (going from four
lanes to one in each direction) often result in reduced vehicle speeds along a
corridor,” said Jennifer Rice, a city transportation planner and engineer. “The
city will continue to monitor Laurel Lane over the next several months to see
if this is the case.”
“If so,” she added,
“the posted speed limit could be reduced as well (as allowed by the California
Vehicle Code) further promoting a safe neighborhood corridor.”
included striping improvements for pedestrian enhancements to the crosswalk on
Augusta Street and Sinsheimer Elementary, buffered bike lanes on Southwood
Drive and shared lane markings on Augusta and Victoria streets. The project
also included 557,879 square feet of sealing neighborhood streets, Rice said.
improvements remain, including replacing some signage, city officials said.
In June, the City
Council approved the $2.5 million Laurel Lane Complete Streets and
Roadway Maintenance Sealing project, with major funding
coming from the Local Revenue Measure (Measure G).
The Laurel Lane project drew
criticism from mayoral candidate T. Keith Gurnee, who believes the
City Council should have allocated at least some of the money to dredging
Laguna Lake instead. The council reallocated about $200,000 from its Laguna
Lake dredging funding pot to spend on the Laurel Lane project.
But Mayor HeidiHarmon, who’s running for re-election, has defended the project. She identifiedmultimodal transportation — including bicycling and walking — as a major city goal to help reduce vehicletraffic and carbon emissions from cars in alignment with the council’s 2035 working target for carbonneutrality, an overall goal to achieve a zero carbon footprint