Dozens of people showed up to the city council meeting on Monday to protest the traffic calming measures put in place by the city to alleviate congestion in the Upper Welburn – Mantelli area.
Citing increased trip times and cumbersome detours, a number of impacted residents said during public comments – the item was not on the agenda – that the changes essentially turned Upper Welburn into a private street and called into question the process through which the changes were made, in particular the lack of communication to neighboring residents in Country Estates, Rancho Hills and The Forest.
“Their concern is not special to Welburn, there are a lot of streets in Gilroy that are narrow and do not have sidewalks, Country Estates is one,” said Jill Vanne, a resident of Country Estates, about the group of Upper Welburn residents that spurred the traffic measures. “What has been done to convenience a few residents on Welburn has inconvenienced many others.”
The City Council at its Nov. 21 meeting approved $25,000 for the temporary traffic calming measures, which included restricting turns onto Welburn by motorists traveling on Mantelli Drive, and follow-up monitoring. When traveling on Welburn Avenue, drivers are no longer allowed to turn left onto westbound Mantelli Drive. Drivers on Welburn Avenue are allowed to make a right turn only onto eastbound Mantelli Drive. The “soft” measures were installed after nearly four years of input from neighbors who were concerned about excessive speeds and congestion in the growing westside district, but it seems not all neighbors were on board.
“I had no idea this was up for discussion,” said Erica Taturo. “It seems like a sneaky move- where does it end?”
“Gilroy is growing at a rapid pace,” said Joan Miller, who along with a handful of other residents, thanked the council and city staff for their actions and asked that the measures continue.
“This is a narrow two-lane road with no bike lanes or sidewalks and we have to walk in the street,” said Kelly Barbazette, whose lived on Upper Welburn Avenue for 10 years, and is in support of the measures. “We want our streets to be safe for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.”