EL CERRITO -- Despite a limited public works budget, the city has recognized concerns from residents on or near Colusa Avenue who say speeding drivers are endangering pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers and sideswiping vehicles.
Officials presented a neighborhood traffic management plan for the street at a public meeting Saturday attended by about 40 residents.
Residents initially brought the problem to the city's attention with a public petition in 2011 and concerns were first aired at a meeting about a year ago.
"This is the longest stretch of uninterrupted concrete north of Berkeley," said Colusa resident Josh Whitmer, who said that hit-and-run drivers have totaled one car he parked on the street and damaged others.
"People drive right up to Colusa and then floor it," he said.
The traffic management plan identified problems with speeding and obstructed views for drivers on Colusa between Susan Drive and Errol Drive and speeding, obstructed views, narrow sidewalks and sideswiping between Eureka and Hotchkiss Avenue and Hotchkiss and Terrace Drive.
Residents also complained about the dangers they face backing out of their driveways into high-speed traffic.
The plan describes mitigation measures that could include introducing no parking zones at key intersections so parked cars don't block drivers' views of pedestrians and installing or improving centerline striping so drivers see a narrower roadway and slow down in response.
Whitmer said he has resorted to parking a beat up old vehicle near the corner of Colusa and Hotchkiss to make it narrower and force drivers to brake.
More expensive and more aggressive remedies could involve installing impediments such as speed humps and speed tables that force drivers to reduce speeds to as low as 15 to 17 miles per hour. More expensive and more aggressive remedies could involve installing impediments such as speed humps and speed tables that force drivers to reduce speeds to as low as 15 to 17 miles per hour.
Other traffic calming measures could include installing digital speed signs that show drivers how fast they are going and widening sidewalks to narrow the street for cars and give pedestrians more space.
The report specifically recommends interrupting traffic flow at the intersection of Colusa and Eureka avenues by adding three stop signs and two ladder crosswalks.
Installing bumps and other aggressive measures requires a 70 percent vote of residents who live on Colusa and 50 percent of residents on neighboring streets. Stop signs can only follow a study that determines there is sufficient traffic at the intersections and City Council approval.
El Cerrito has estimated a cost of about $37,000 to implement the plan.
The city will test the effect of the red curb markings and speed lumps and seek council approval of the all-way stop at Colusa and Eureka in February or March, according to the plan, and move ahead with the warning signs, traffic striping and curb markings in April or May.
El Cerrito is considering taking similar traffic calming measures on Lincoln Avenue and held a community meeting with those residents in November, said city engineering director Jerry Bradshaw.