Speeding vehicles are causing dangerous situations in southeast Tracy, residents say.
From her home on Valpico Road just east of MacArthur Drive — a 40 mile-per-hour zone — Kathy Bower says she sees cars driving at up to 80 miles per hour, and even faster at night and on weekends.
“The speeds are unreal,” Bower said. “We live on this street. We have driveways. It’s not a freeway, and it’s just putting too many lives in danger.”
Neighbor Barbara Edwards agrees. “It’s been terrible, just getting in and out of the driveway,” she said.
Police said they were not aware of any significant speeding problem in the neighborhood.
But a video posted online on YouTube.com, a popular video-sharing Web site, seems to confirm residents’ complaints.
The clip, posted Oct. 18, shows a BMW M3 and a Z28 Camaro racing at high speed in daylight. The cars zoom north on Tracy Boulevard from the traffic light on Valpico Road. A third car follows and videotapes the race.
The cars are obviously speeding on the mostly open road, where speed limits on this stretch of Tracy Boulevard range from 30 to 40 mph.
Police Sgt. Scott Martin and officer Mike Rider had no knowledge of the video when questioned Wednesday.
Bower said she has contacted the police about the dangerous conditions on her street but has not seen an increased police presence.
Edwards said she, too, has called the police, with little effect.
“This would be an ideal place for a stakeout,” Edwards said. “The police could really make a bundle. But they don’t pay attention.”
Accidents in the neighborhood are common, residents complain. Bower says she is aware of 10 accidents where cars slammed into property in the past two years in the one-block stretch of Valpico Road between MacArthur Drive and Maurland Lane. Her property alone has been hit four times.
Until two years ago, a blinking traffic light created a four-way stop at the intersection of Valpico and MacArthur and slowed down traffic. Bower suggests a return to this arrangement.
“It’ll be an inconvenience,” Bower said. “We’ll have more traffic backed up in front of our homes, but we need to slow them down.”
But Rider says a four-way stop would be unsafe, too.
“The problem is, Valpico and MacArthur isn’t a simple little four-way stop on a residential street. When you’re looking across a large intersection like that, you can’t communicate your intentions to drivers across the intersection.”
On the afternoon of Oct. 12, 16-year-old Caitlin Erler was riding her bike on Valpico Road near Glenbriar Drive when a car hit her, sending her head into the windshield.
According to police, Erler is still hospitalized. She is conscious and her condition is improving, but her injuries remain serious.
While the accident is still under investigation, there is no indication that the driver was speeding.