Transportation

Aromas residents discuss road safety in town hall session

Focus put on modifications to ongoing projects.  
Attendees mark aerial photos. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Attendees mark aerial photos. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Annotated aerial photos. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Annotated aerial photos. Photo by Robert Eliason.

At a town hall meeting at the Aromas Grange on Dec. 17, San Benito County Resource Management Agency interim Director Steve Loupe met with residents of the town to hear their concerns about the completed Carr Avenue and Anzar Road repaving project. While the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree a block away proved to be a greater draw of local attention, the 25 or so people in attendance proved to be just as engaged, peppering Loupe with questions almost from the time that San Benito County Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki introduced him to the audience. 

The work covered Anzar Road from Cole Road to School Road to Searle Road to San Juan Highway at an estimated cost of  $2.16 million, as well as Carr Avenue from Anzar Road to Carpenteria Road at an estimated cost of  $1.54 million. The work began in July and was funded under the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, according to the county’s announcement of the projects.

Loupe said the work is now in the final stages of completion, but residents have been registering concerns about many aspects of the project. Loupe invited input on various modifications, including mailbox placement, garbage and recycling can staging areas, improved vertical clearance for cars and driveway entrances, the possible removal of curbs and dykes that were now directing water toward homes, and excess water that was creating traffic hazards. 

The attendees were asked to mark areas where they perceived a problem on large aerial photographs of the roads, which will then be reviewed by county engineers for possible action.

The final phase of construction will be striping the roads, which requires warmer weather and a study to determine whether the speed limit on Anzar, currently 55 mph, should be lowered.

Loupe said traffic calming measures are also being planned, with work starting in April. The county is considering the installation of “speed cushions,” raised areas on the road similar to speed bumps but with gaps that would allow emergency vehicles to pass through them with little loss of speed.

Speaking with BenitoLink, five-year resident Philip Verschelde said his concerns included greater safety for bicyclists, possibly reducing the speed limit on Anzar, and better marking on difficult parts of the roadway.

“I believe 45 mph would be better on Anzar than what it is now,” he said. “The 25 mph speed limit on Carr can stay the same. 35 mph, yes, after the residences. But people still need to watch out for bicyclists—when you get over that hill, you get to 35 so easily. And when it’s wet, it gets slick. The first time I went over it when it was wet, in the dark, and without any of the striping, it looked like a black mirror.”

Loupe said he thought the comments and questions from attendees were thoughtful and he appreciated the interaction.

“Overall I thought it went pretty well,” he said. “It looks like there were several people that actually made markings and we’re going to try to implement them as best we can. There are a lot of physical constraints and issues, especially with cars, that we’re going to be working on. I don’t know if we can satisfy everyone, but we will try our best.”

Loupe said residents with further concerns could contact him at 831-902-2271 or at [email protected]

 

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Robert Eliason

I got my start as a photographer when my dad stuck a camera in my hand on the evening of my First Grade Open House. He taught me to observe, empathize, then finally compose the shot.  The editors at BenitoLink first approached me as a photographer. They were the ones to encourage me to write stories about things that interest me, turning me into a reporter as well.  BenitoLink is a great creative family that cares deeply about the San Benito community and I have been pleased to be a part of it.