Ladera Ranch

                          Civic Council Requests 4-way Stop Sign

After hearing public testimony about the number of traffic and pedestrian safety issues associated with the roadway at Narrow Canyon and Aura Lane, the Ladera Ranch Civic Council drafted a letter to the Orange County Traffic Commission, which is expected to address the issue at their public meeting in October. As an unincorporated area, Ladera Ranch must rely on the County for enhancements to public safety, such as stop signs and/or traffic signals.

This is not the first time that the issue has been raised with the OC Traffic Commission. A report in the OC Register by Marie Ekberg Padilla in September, 2014, stated “…the area has been on the Traffic Commission’s radar since 2006, when the first of several actions – the establishment of the 35 mph speed limit – was taken. In 2007 and 2008, when evaluations for a four-way stop sign were performed, the intersection failed to meet the criteria. In 2011, pedestrian crossing signs were installed and three more speed limit signs were installed along Narrow Canyon. In 2012, the yellow center lines were extended along Narrow Canyon. In 2013, there was a speed survey.”
County Traffic Engineers again brought the issue to the County Traffic Commission’s attention following an accident in July of 2014, when a two-car collision at the intersection caused a driver to lose control, smash through the garage wall of a home and hit six gas meters which then prompted the evacuation of ten homes. The Council subsequently voted in September 2014 to request increased safety measures at the intersection. Measures taken thus far by the County, including the addition of crosswalks and decreasing the speed limit, are not enough, according to the Civic Council’s request to the County.

 The findings in the studies have failed to produce additional safety measures being taken to protect both vehicles and pedestrians, so the Civic Council raised the issue again at their September 2015 meeting. 

During the meeting, community members mentioned the July 2014 accident, as well as other incidents at the location which had not been reported, such as cars hitting trees, vehicles parked on Narrow Canyon and the fact that the curving road blocks the view of pedestrians crossing the road and limits visibility of oncoming vehicular traffic. All of these incidents illustrate the need for increased public safety such as a 4-way stop, say community members.

 In a letter to the County requesting the 4-way stop, the Civic Council stated that community leaders have attempted to mitigate the issues associated with pedestrian and vehicular traffic at the intersection, and acknowledged “…potential limitations imposed on the County by the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Devices (“CAMUTD”) and the enforcement challenges associated with those standards.” The manual, issued by the Federal Highway Administration of the Department of Transportation, specifies standards for traffic signs, roadway markings, and traffic signals. In the US, all traffic control devices must legally conform to these standards. The manual is used by state and local agencies to ensure that traffic controls conform to the national standard. While acknowledging the County’s requirements to conform to these standards, the Council also pointed out the County’s ability to “…make certain findings…that, under specific conditions, could allow the implementation of traffic mitigation devices that would serve the community without undermining the County’s ability to enforce the law or create liabilities associated with the implementation of improper traffic control devices.”

Ultimately, the Council is requesting that the “County conduct a traffic analysis that would support the implementation of an all‐way stop sign at the intersection. However, should this effort ultimately not be supported by the warrants required under current law, the Civic Council requests that the County explore all potentially viable alternatives, including the construction of a roundabout or an illuminated crosswalk as options for consideration by the County Traffic Committee.”

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