Red Phone: Accident possible

Red Phone: Low branches need to be cut

Dear Red Phone, The intersection of Wagon Way and Lone Deer Corner is one car-too-close away from an accident. Cars traveling north on Lone Deer mostly will turn left on Wagon, and they will often short the corner. Those driving eastbound on Wagon are likely to encounter a car on their side of the road.

I’ve nearly been hit head on three or four times, or at least close calls. Often the other driver looks at me like, “Yeah, what’s your problem?” Well, my problem is that we drive on the right side of the road here in Gilroy! When I’m making that left onto Wagon, I make sure I swing way out, so that I can continue on the right side of the road on Wagon. Which is why we need a roundabout there. At least a “mini-roundabout”!

Thank you, good caller, for alerting us to this Wild West of an intersection where those following the traffic rules may be jeopardizing their lives. Red Phone checked in with Michael Fisher, our interim city transportation engineer at the city of Gilroy to see what can be done. Fisher was quick to sympathize, saying that some people are in a hurry to get home or to go to work and often speed through intersections and cut corners when making turns.

“Roundabouts, like the new ones installed on Santa Teresa, are huge capital investments costing thousands of dollars and won’t be a practical solution,” explained Fisher. “If speeding is the root of the problem we may be able to consider one of several options: 1) Enforcement (meaning traffic cops), 2) Hardscape (a small, concrete traffic circle) or 3) Street striping (to help drivers stay on their side of the road). Readers should note that we do not have a precedent for option #2, and solutions such as this would need to be vetted through our final traffic calming policy which is still in-progress of being completed.”

Good caller, it turns out that not only is your question important, it is also very timely. The City Council studied the traffic problems Monday (see page one story) and is working on solutions to be followed up in its next meeting.

Fisher drove out to Wagon Way and Lone Deer Corner to meet with our good caller and assessed the situation.

Here is what Fisher concluded: “We’d like to try adding striping to this corner to see if this will help keep drivers in their lane. We are planning to send a striping crew out sometime after the November 13 council meeting, hopefully within a few weeks of that time. The city already has some high priority striping projects on the schedule that need to be done first but since the corner of Wagon Way and Lone Deer is a small project, will do our best to fit it in.

Our good caller will be glad to have this corner improved with the striping. “Although this job is ‘small’, I hope that this corner can become the next priority in order to prevent a serious accident from happening.”