Tip List: Stop signs needed at busy intersection?

abutt@mercedsunstar.comJune 7, 2012 

Kim Norrell has to pass through the intersection of Canal and 15th streets to get lunch every so often.

She said she thinks the intersection is unsafe and accident-prone because the traffic on Canal Street doesn't have a stop sign. There are stop signs on either side of 15th Street.

"It does not help that PG&E is on that corner and their employees park along the street, so it becomes very difficult to see around them for oncoming traffic to cross Canal," she wrote in an email.

Norrell, who works in the area, also said it's hard for people stopped on 15th Street to see the oncoming traffic, partly because of the cars parked along Canal Street.

Some concerned residents think the intersection, which has a two-way stop sign on both ends of 15th street, is unsafe because vehicles can't see traffic that's coming from Canal Street.

"I think anyone who has experienced that intersection would agree that it's a problem," she said.

Norrell said a four-way stop should help limit the number of accidents that may occur in the intersection.

Lt. Bimley West, with the Merced Police Department, agreed, saying the intersection does seem unsafe.

"I appreciate she's making that recommendation. I used to be on the street much more, but ... for years I've felt they've needed a four-way stop at that intersection," West said. "I sincerely hope they make that a four-way stop."

There is a four-way stop at M and 15th, and O and 15th, West said.

The issue is on the calendar for the next traffic committee meeting, according to Stan Murdock, director of public works operations.

He said that in situations such as this, conditions must warrant having a four-way stop sign, requiring information on a certain number or type of traffic incidents.

"Have there been indications at that intersection that it's been unsafe? Have there been those types of things occurring (to show) that it needs another stop sign?" Murdock said.

He stressed that he didn't know how many accidents have occurred at that intersection.

It's the traffic committee's responsibility to look at the request and see if there have been any incidents that may justify a four-way stop sign, he said.

However, he said, Canal Street needs to have a free flow. "A four-way sign does impede the free flow of traffic somewhat," he said.

What's the problem: Some residents, including Kim Norrell, think the intersection of Canal and 15th streets is unsafe and should have a four-way stop sign.

Who's responsible: City of Merced.

What's being done: The traffic committee will discuss the item at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Civic Center's third floor conference room, 678 W. 18th St.

Tip off the tip list!

If you see something broken or in need of repair in your neighborhood, call the Sun-Star Tip List reporter, Ameera Butt, with your tips at (209) 385-2477 or e-mail abutt@mercedsunstar.com.

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