Tip List: Intersection with dangerous past

The intersection of Yosemite Avenue and Stadium Lane has been the sight of two fatal accidents and one major injury since 2000.
The intersection of Yosemite Avenue and Stadium Lane has been the sight of two fatal accidents and one major injury since 2000. SUN-STAR PHOTO BY GEORGE MACDONALD

An intersection with a tragic history is still waiting for the crosswalks and stop lights promised by the city more than a year ago.

And tipster See Tekai, who says she recently saw a near-miss at the same location, wants to know why.

"Will it take another pedestrian versus vehicle accident or maybe another death to get you guys down at City Hall to make sure that our citizens are safe?" asks Tekai, about the intersection of Stadium Lane and Yosemite Avenue. "How will you explain an injury to the family of the victim? 'Oops we're sorry, but we dropped the ball?'"

In the past seven years, two deaths have been reported at the intersection. In March 2007 a Merced College student suffered major injuries after being struck crossing the street near the college.

The accidents prompted the city to install stop signs, with the promise of lights and crosswalks when the funding and work could be approved.

In February, the city's principal engineer, John Ainsworth, told Tip List that the city was well aware of the need for the intersection and he said funding had been secured through a federal hazard elimination safety grant.

At that time, the city was in the process of designing the intersection and finding a contractor to build it. Ainsworth also said the new intersection was expected to be operational by September or October.

We're nearing the end of October, and there are no signs of a redesigned intersection. So what's the holdup?

I talked to Ainsworth on Wednesday. He said a few unexpected hurdles turned the green light on the project to yellow. "Anything that has federal or state funding you have to jump through some hoops," he said.

Those hoops, he said, were a required hot-spot analysis (basically a report that shows the impact a signal would have on idling cars and PM-10 emissions) and required testing of the potential of lead in the painted stripes that would have to be removed from the roadway.

Ainsworth said the hot-spot analysis has to be signed off by the Merced County Area Governments and the Environmental Protection Agency.

To those anxious about the intersection, Ainsworth assures that everything in the city's power is being done. He adds that they'll begin taking bids on the project by the end of the year with construction beginning no later than February.

Until then, be sure to look both ways.

WHAT'S WRONG: Intersection at Stadium Lane and Yosemite Avenue still doesn't have traffic signals.

WHAT'S BEING DONE: City has secured funding and expects to begin construction by February of next year.

WHO'S INVOLVED: John Ainsworth, city of Merced principal civil engineer, (209) 385-6899.