City says intersection doesn’t warrant changes

HOA residents ask for safety measures

POINT OF INTEREST—City officials say a traffic study done at the intersection of Adolfo Road and Camino Ruiz indicates that additional safety measures are not needed at this time. MALENA HUEY/Acorn Newspapers

POINT OF INTEREST—City officials say a traffic study done at the intersection of Adolfo Road and Camino Ruiz indicates that additional safety measures are not needed at this time. MALENA HUEY/Acorn Newspapers

A group of residents from a homeowners association in the Mission Oaks area asked the Camarillo City Council to make changes to the intersection at Adolfo Road and Camino Ruiz to improve safety.

But after a traffic study was done at the intersection east of Santa Rosa Road, the council voted 4-1 that the requested changes aren’t necessary. Councilmember Tony Trembley cast the dissenting vote.

Mayor Shawn Mulchay said there wasn’t enough information to justify a change.

“There’s not enough data here, and what data we do have doesn’t necessarily warrant, say, a crosswalk or a signal intersection,” Mulchay said during the July 13 City Council meeting.

During a meeting in August 2020 regarding an environmental report for a planned residential development at Verdugo Way and Camino Ruiz, local homeowners raised concerns about traffic safety in the area.

They talked about pedestrians crossing Adolfo Road illegally and cars driving east on Adolfo making dangerous U-turns at Camino Ruiz. They said the development would make the problem worse.

A public comment letter dated Aug. 3, 2020, includes a petition from the Fairfield II Homeowners Association, signed by more than 30 residents, that requests a fourway stoplight with crosswalks and a “no U-turn” sign at the intersection. They said a lower speed limit would also be helpful.

The posted speed limit on Adolfo Road is 45 mph, and there are stop signs on Camino Ruiz on both approaches to the intersection. There are no stop controls or crosswalks at the intersection.

Michelle D’Anna, assistant to the city manager, said Trembley brought the item to the transportation and infrastructure committee, which recently referred the item to the City Council.

City staff collected and analyzed traffic data at the intersection. They counted the number of cars and pedestrians, observed patterns and reviewed reported collisions.

The data showed that, based on state and federal standards, neither traffic signal control nor all-way stop controls were warranted at the intersection.

Staff found that there were no reported collisions involving eastbound cars making U-turns at the intersection, according to the most recent five years of traffic collision data from California Highway Patrol.

“There’s an established pattern of safe U-turns being made there, and staff hesitates to change that,” Public Works Director David Klotzle said during the meeting.

He said there have not been an unusually high number of collisions there.

Staff also found that there were not enough pedestrians to justify adding a crosswalk across Adolfo Road.

To be upheld in court, speed limits must be within 5 mph of the speed at which 85% of all cars are driving. The data the city collected confirmed that 85% of all cars were within 5 mph of the posted limit.

“We’ve confirmed that the posted speed limit is appropriate,” Klotzle said. “Implementing measures where they’re not called for can create worse impacts than striving to achieve some perceived improvement.”

Trembley told Klotzle that he still believed the speed limit was too high for that stretch of road. He also said he is concerned that the residential development will increase traffic, and he is in favor of adding “no U-turn” signs and exploring a lower speed limit.

“There is a reasonable expectation that that intersection is going to see material increase in activity in the next several years but we’re not doing anything about it, and that’s my level of discomfort,” he said.

Councilmember Charlotte Craven said the apartments are far from being completed. Once they are occupied, she said, the city can monitor the impact on traffic and make adjustments as needed.

“I think we can’t sit here and say, ‘Oh gosh, we think these people are going to create a problem’ and try to solve a problem that doesn’t exist,” she said. “I don’t see where there’s a need to do anything right now.”

The other council members agreed.

“I’m a little hesitant to do something before I have enough data to make sure that whatever we do is going to help the situation,” Councilmember Kevin Kildee said.

Crosswalks, for example, can provide a false sense of security or slow down traffic, he said.