The long-awaited Singleton Road-Bryant Street connection in Calimesa opened in early November. And, not everyone is happy about it.
At the recent Calimesa City Council meeting, six residents who live near the extension voiced their concerns about safety and speeding on the new road, which allows those in the upper areas of Calimesa and Yucaipa to connect without traveling down to Calimesa Boulevard.
“My biggest concern is the speed, the safety and the fact that there is no access for me to begin to get into my driveway,” said Nancy Turner, who lives on Avenue L, close to where Bryant Street begins its new connection to Singleton Road. Bryant Street is now an open thoroughfare between Singleton Road in Calimesa and Highway 38 in Yucaipa.
“Not to mention that right now I have a temporary gate that I have to stop, unlock, get back in again,” Turner said. “I have had cars honking at me as I stop to get into my own driveway.”
Paul McCullough, who lives on Bryant, had similar concerns. He mentioned the new turn lanes on Bryant Street that take up space, causing that part of the road to narrow unnecessarily and dangerously. The two turns almost back up to each other, one going onto Avenue L and one onto Greentree Circle.
“We’re here trying to contest that turn lane and see if you can get rid of it,” he said. “Even just checking my mail at 5:30-6 p.m., it’s dark outside. I am hanging out in traffic and watching to make sure they don’t hit me.”
McCullough took it upon himself recently to spend 45 minutes outside his home photographing all the speeding cars. He brought the photos to the Nov. 18 council meeting.
“Look at all these, and this is just in 45 minutes. People are flying by,” he said. “I am just afraid something bad is going to happen.”
Speeding, traffic and the narrowness caused by the left-hand turn lanes were also on the minds of the other residents.
“I am very concerned about the kids,” said Krista Howe, who lives on Avenue L.
She added the new left-hand turn lanes make the road “very, very tight.”
Resident Darryl Wheeler suggested the addition of speed bumps or some type of warning for motorists as they approach Avenue L from Singleton Road.
“It doesn’t do anything for the city except bring more people flying through there,” he said about connection. “There’s no room to walk there any more, safely.”
After listening to residents, Mayor Bill Davis turned to City Manager Bonnie Johnson.
“We have some things to talk about,” he said.
She agreed and reported the city is working on a traffic survey.
“(The road) actually improves public safety response and improves access to a lot of the residents in Singleton Heights and JP Ranch that were up on the hill with basically one way in and one way out. There are a lot of benefits to the road being punched through. We do understand that, again, traffic patterns are changing,” Johnson said.
She noted there is a process to possibly install stop signs and asked City Engineer Mike Thornton to explain it.
“We do need to evaluate and collect data on the new traffic patterns that are occurring out there, the changes in behavior. We cannot set stop signs without the proper data being collected to support the findings. We do need to let the traffic flow and then collect new data,” Thornton said. “Then we need to analyze new data and determine if stop signs are appropriate.”
He added the city can look at the striping, possibly the left-hand turn lanes, and see if that situation can improve.
Mayor Pro Tem Linda Molina also wanted the residents’ concerns to be addressed.
“I know not everyone is happy about it, but there are more positive than negative issues,” Molina said about the new road. “I think our city is very proactive in addressing those and I am sure we will be working together with our community, we want our community to be happy, but this really is a significant opening for traffic.”