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June 7, 2023

Letter: To stop or not to stop

As part of the First Street repaving project in Gilroy, Caltrans installed two signal lights at the northeast corner of Santa Teresa Boulevard and First Street. These two signal lights are for drivers turning right from First Street onto northbound Santa Teresa. Some drivers are stopping at the red lights and waiting until the lights turn green before proceeding. Other drivers are stopping at the red lights and then proceeding onto Santa Teresa when it’s clear to do so. Many drivers just drive right through the red lights without stopping at all to head north on Santa Teresa.

Starting in November, I wrote to the City of Gilroy’s Traffic Engineering Department requesting that directional/instructional signage be installed at this intersection in order to prevent an accident. Rachelle Bedell, Communication and Engagement Manager, directed me to contact Victor Gauthier, Caltrans PIO, since these are new lights configured by Caltrans. Victor Gauthier contacted me and indicated that when these lights are red that drivers should stop, yield to pedestrians and traffic, then make a right turn when safe to do so. 

I passed this information from Victor Gauthier to Gary Heap, Engineer/Transportation Engineer with the City of Gilroy. Gary wrote to me and stated, “We are working with Caltrans to provide signage at this location to inform drivers that they can proceed after stopping at the red light. This intersection is controlled by Caltrans so we have to wait for the State to respond and take action.” 

Drivers are obviously confused about what to do at these signal lights. How much longer will it take for signage to be installed at this intersection before a serious accident occurs?

Tom Kennedy


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