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Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Dream of a Wilshire Bike Way

There has been talk among us about using Wilshire Avenue (which runs east - west from close to State College on the east to Euclid on the west) as a special kind of street that encourages bicyclists. This week, that idea got a little further from reality, when the city added another stop sign at Wilshire & Ford.

Ford runs north - south from Chapman to Amerige, in front of the Fullerton Library. It is a total of three blocks long. I do not have access to traffic counts, but I am quite certain that stopping ALL traffic on Wilshire is not justified by cross traffic on this street.

This new stop sign is just one more example of why Fullerton deserves the nickname "The Stop City". There is a stop sign at Wilshire & Jefferson; Jefferson is ONE block long, running from Chapman to Wilshire. Stop signs were added a few years ago at Wilshire & Berkeley, and Wilshire & Lincoln. I wrote an e-mail to the city complaining about them. The answer I got said that no, traffic didn't justify the stop signs, but the residents complained about Fullerton City College traffic (although Lincoln is a full three blocks east of the edge of the campus). I ride regularly across Wilshire, and by my informal observation, there is no cross traffic at Jefferson 98% of the time when I pass by, and over 90% of the time at Lincoln.

Other egregious examples of unnecessary stop signs can be found on Las Palmas Dr. and Hermosa Dr. between Harbor and Puente streets. Some years ago, people headed to work at Hughes Aircraft would use these streets as an alternative to Imperial Hwy. The stop signs were placed to deter drivers from making this choice. However, there is no longer any Hughes traffic, as there is no longer a plant at Gilbert and Malvern. Nevertheless, the stop signs survive.

I'd have to ride the entire length of Wilshire with the express aim of counting signal lights and stop signs, but I believe that there are two traffic signals (Harbor and Lemon) and thirteen stop signs (Jefferson, Woods, Richman, Ford, Highland, Malden, Pomona, Lawrence, Berkeley, Lincoln, Raymond, Acacia, and State College) on the street, in the three miles from Euclid & Wilshire to Revere & State College. Obviously, some of the signals and stop signs are justified where Wilshire crosses busy streets. However, at least four stop signs could not be justified by traffic concerns.

Maybe we could press the city to revisit their decision to choke traffic, waste gasoline, and increase air pollution with these unneeded stop signs, and at the same time, open up some of our streets for bicyclists.


sharvey said...

The new traffic signal at Ford and Wilshire seems more like an opportunity than a detriment to the creation of a bicycle boulevard along Wilshire. I would suggest that Fullerton sees a need to calm traffic along Wilshire. The street features required for traffic calming and bicycle boulevards are very similar. Encouraging the city to use traffic circles, diagonal diverters, center islands, and chicanes might be more effective towards the end goal.

The Berkeley Bicycle Boulevard network provides an example of measures that could be used on Wilshire.

Colin Campbell said...

You may be right, but I would bet right now, the reason for this stop sign (not traffic signal) have nothing to do with making cyclists safer.

With 15 traffic controls in three miles, Wilshire must be among the calmest streets anywhere!

Tirzah said...

Good words.

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