Guest Column: How Bad Can Traffic Get?

ca roads

52 at Ferguson. If you’re a Gilroy resident, or a commuter from outside of the area, you know the spot I’m talking about. The “new” light at the intersection of 152 and Ferguson that went in a few years ago. If you live close like I do, you know how often things go wrong or happen at this exact spot. The lights were put in to “help” with the fender benders and multitude of accidents that happened when it was just a stop sign. Too many people were impatient and caused gridlock right at this spot from all directions.
Now let’s talk about the lights, the curve, and the signs. This artery was shut down for for over half a year in a $2.5 million project to add the lights by Caltrans. What they didn’t put into play at this point, was the long curve and lack of signage. It took numerous accidents to get more signs out to warn truckers that the light was set directly in the turn and to slow down. The problem though, the heavy weight of the trucker’s cargo isn’t easily slowed from the time the signs are apparent to the sudden changing of the light color. Many, many truckers have rolled in this exact spot, so many that Caltrans now is considering closing this spot yet again to add a berm to keep the trucks on the road. Ask anyone, they would have told you that that berm needed to be in place ages ago. Now it’s going to cost another $2.5 million to fix their mess up and close this main artery down.
During the last closure, we had lost semi trucks and travelers using our side streets as a means to get from point A to point B. For the locals of the Y, this became problematic when these travelers and trucks used not only our streets, but our driveways to turn around. Friends that live further out past the Y had headache after headache day after day trying to get their kids to school during the closure. The safety of the intersection should have truly come first when they redid the entire spot. They claim it was lack of funds, but now they are considering dropping another $2.5 million to add the berm. This should have been done before, are the taxpayers footing this bill? This seems to be a CalTrans mess up that we will have to cover. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be done, it should, but it should have been done during the first renovation. It would have saved money, time, and a lot of truckers from rolling over and getting injured had this been done the right way, the first time.
Where’s the accountability? Every job and employer requires accountability. This is a huge oversight on the part of CalTrans, shouldn’t they be held accountable too?