May 9, 2014 edition
My main concern with the proposal is the traffic situations that will result from the plan known at this time.
I was head of the Technical Services Division Downey California Police Department for five years in the '70's, responsible for the photo lab, identification technicians, evidence room and all crime and accident related records.
My ID techs responded to many accidents for photos when requested by the officers on scene. My records section performed quality control over reports. Sending them back through channels for proper information. I was particularly familiar with fatal accidents since I was the Records Custodian subpoena'd to supply records and/or testify in legal cases.
Having been interested in suburban auto accidents and vehicles in general since about 10 yrs old, I often discussed accidents with officers.
Some basic rules we learned:
1. line of sight by a seated driver in various sizes of vehicles far outranks signage.
2. distractions in rights of way are prominent in "I didn't see it" comments to officers.
3. the entrance to the gas station coming in from 38 presents several hazards. Jason Jones covered the tanker and large truck turning radius problem in his reports. Which have two diagrams very useful to what I am describing.
What if the station lot is full, vehicles would need to wait on State Lane for the entrance to the gas station to clear. Even one car waiting on State Lane would block State lane since it is a narrow two lane road. The other lane, westbound is not lawfully available since it's flow is in the opposite direction from the eastbound incoming lane. .
4. To enter the station complex approaching from the east, that is coming along State Lane from the populated Erwin Lake area, a vehicle needs to turn left from the roadway, cross the center line and pray they don't have to wait for the entrance to clear.
5. Left turns across opposing traffic are commonly involved in accidents. Personally I've avoided them all my life by going to an intersection, turning around or using a side street as I do along Big Bear Blvd.
6. I suspect many approaching from the east will avoid the left turn on the curve into the entrance by taking a shorter route from State Lane INTO THE EXIT of the station complex. No amount of signage can block drivers from the temptation to take this more direct route. Maybe spikes in the driveway will be necessary.
7. I would expect it would be the entrance of choice for many 2-3 wheeled vehicles, including those motorized, bicycles and foot traffic.
8. If vehicles exit the gas station properly at the exit driveway to State Lane, many will want to turn left on State Lane to go back to 38. Which means they have to wait till traffic on State Lane going in both directions leaves them a safe opening to cross the centerline and go left.
9. First Lane exits at that same point. My experience there was scary from low seating in my 1991 Subaru the day I took the photos on my site. I stopped at the end of First Lane, intending to turn left, that is cross the path of vehicles going towards 38 to regain my direction east, away from 38, on State lane. I started out and was startled by a small red pickup that was able to stop since it was not going too fast. It is a line of sight issue. State Lane is slightly higher than First lane's approach to State Lane. Something there partially blocked my view of approaching vehicles on State Lane from the east. NOW add in pedestrian and bicycle traffic from the ends of First and Second Lane to this scenario. It is extremely dangerous with no solution I can think of other than a bridge or a traffic light. Given the road's curve at the point a crosswalk would likely be too late for many vehicles to stop without flashing warning signs.
10. motor scooters, mopeds, unlicensed, some home made, and off road dirt bikes are very common on the dirt roads north of State Lane, even in winter. They may choose to gas up at the station, very likely crossing State Lane from 1st lane, and rarely going west on State Lane for the proper entrance to the station. They will figure it is safer and quicker, although illegal for them to go directly across and into the EXIT lane of the station.
11. Motorcyles often run in groups, some very large coming and going to Big Bear on 38. There are smaller groups that on weekends run west on State Lane to 38. Are they going also to take the quick direct path into the station via its Exit on State Lane? Throttle blipping is of course a "must". Envision twenty motorcycles warming up to leave the complex.
12. Enforcement on the leg of State Lane from in front of the convenience store/station to 38 with such a curve involved could cause more than it would prevent. Lowering the speed limit to 10-15 mph would be most likely justified. Thereby increasing the bottleneck for Erwin Lake residents.
13. Traffic counts, numbers of vehicles passing a point at some hours of the day are not relevant to safe roads concerns. I lived on a two lane blacktop in Missouri for 18 yrs with a count of around 3800 vehicles passing every 24 hour period. It was a straight road with a John Deere dealership and a Lions club grounds. I recall two fender benders related to left hand turns into driveways. Three runoffs. There were no injuries. There were a few not very bright streetlights.The speed limit increased to 50 mph outside the village limits. I don't recall any accidents going in and out of the John Deere dealership due to excellent design of the driveway in and outs.
14. Traffic going out and coming in from 38 would only decrease by the number whose only errand was within Erwin Lake to the gas station/market. Whatever that number it would easily be exceeded by the additional traffic coming in off 38 to the gas station/market.
Both would increase the traffic at the station, going in and out over the center line.
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