NOTES FROM JANUARY 30, 2024 COMMUNITY MEETING RE: AMERICAN AVE ROAD SAFETY ASSESSMENT (RSA)
Meeting Location: Oracle Community Center
Meeting Date/Time: January 30, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Taken by Jean Wilcox, OSCR (Thanks, Jean!)
Organized by Pinal County, attended by Supervisor Jeff McClure and his assistant Trecia, County Engineer Chris Wannaker, Construction Operations Manager Dedrick Denton, Public Works Manager Charles Williams, Senior Transportation Planner Steve Abrams, and Craig Ricketts presenter from the consulting firm that conducted the RSA.
Craig Rickett’s power point will be available from Pinal County after it is presented to the board of supervisors. Data was collected by a subcontractor, United Civil Group. The RSA provides qualitative estimates of safety and performance, and identifies opportunities for improvement. (Name of Rickett’s company?).
American Avenue right of way (ROW) varies in width from 200+’ on the western end, down to 100’ for most of American Avenue, with a constricted narrower width at the curve just east of The Bean where the road crosses a small wash, then widens to 100’ and up to 200’ at the east end.
Craig presented “crash data” (accidents to which law enforcement responded) for 2018 through 2022. Most of the crashes are west of the curve near the intersection of American Ave and Mt. Lemmon Highway. The Field review (data collection) was done in October and the first week of November, 2023. The team interviewed the assistant fire chief, a deputy sheriff, customers at the Bean, and the postmaster. They also spent time observing pedestrian traffic and vehicle turning movements.
Peak traffic volumes on American Ave occur in the early a.m. starting at 6:30 a.m., again midday 2-3 p.m., and again later in the afternoon 4-5 p.m. Traffic volume data was collected at the intersection points shown on the power point and does not include local traffic turning onto and leaving American Ave within the corridor.
County should trim back the bushes in the ROW to increase sight visibility
The stamped concrete path (from Maplewood to Mt. Lemmon Hwy now) should be a continuous walking path along all of American Avenue, preferably on one side.
A “trail” could accommodate both pedestrians and bicycles.
Need striped crosswalks at key locations with flashing lighted signs warning drivers of pedestrian crossings.
The County should negotiate with the landowner who owns the property near the constriction in the ROW east of the Bean to allow for a path
Paint stop bars at the stop signs on Calle Future and on Linda Vista. Build a raised median at the Calle Futura intersection. Close the first driveway into the Cheetos parking lot (observed a near crash there)
Move Maplewood stop sign closer to American Ave and paint a stop bar at the sign
Make the speed limit consistent throughout American Ave (35 mph). Now it changes from 55 mph on HWY 77 to 35 mph eastbound then increases to 50 mph after the post office then slows to 25 mph before the east entrance/exit onto Hwy. Confusing.
Additional comments from the audience heard by the consultant and county officials:
Numerous people said the speed limit needs to be enforced. The consultant replied that the sheriff who was part of the Field Team said they only cite drivers for speeding if they are going over 50 mph on American Ave (even though the speed limit is 35 mph). (Notetaker's comment: I find this APPALLING and plan to write to the sheriff).
The consultant’s statement brought an audible hue and cry from the audience. Craig Anderson later commented that we are all at fault for driving over the speed limit. He stated that traffic control measures can be used to change driver behavior. Locals have learned they can get away with speeding because there is a lack of enforcement. The consultant and others suggested measures such as islands at intersections, landscaping, or radar patrol signs (e.g. as in Showlow/Pinetop)
Use adaptive roadway lights that activate when traffic is approaching a pedestrian crosswalk, rather than a red light pushed by a pedestrian who has already crossed the road.
An overwhelming majority of the audience preferred raised pavement markers for intersections and crosswalks and were opposed to traffic lights (by a show of hands).
The crossing to the Dollar Stores needs to be highlighted.
Add rumble strips before blind intersections, especially before and after the intersection of Linda Vista and American Ave, and Hwy 77 and American Ave.
Realign the intersection of American Ave and Linda Vista so that Robles Road intersects American Ave at a right angle, and Linda Vista intersects Robles Road at a right angle. The turning movements off Linda Vista onto Robles are confusing. A right angle intersection will increase sight distance along American Avenue.
A bike lane is needed so bicycles are not traveling in the driving lane. Discussion about what bicyclists prefer ensued. The walking path could be made with earth/dirt mixed with concrete (per County Engineer). Asphalt is easier to maintain, dirt is more difficult. Someone said horses should be able to use the path as well.
Maintain the pathways, cut the weeds, and spread wildflower seeds as done in the City of Carmel CA.
Consultant was encouraged to look at Chip’s power point showing how a continuous path could be constructed in the existing ROW with strategically placed crosswalks on road tables
Kaz and I moved to Oracle in 1979. The house we bought dated to the late 1940s. With little advance knowledge of the place, we set out to build a new life together, intending to settle in and raise a family.