The city will narrow traffic lanes on Lincoln Boulevard in an effort to slow traffic because of complaints about speeding.
Lane markings will be painted along Lincoln Boulevard between 11th Street and Grant Line Road to shrink the width of the four lanes from 12 feet to 11 feet each, according to city engineer Kul Sharma. Lanes there are currently marked with bumpy road reflectors called cat’s eyes.
“There’s no physical barrier, but it creates a psychological impact on the drivers,” said Sharma of the planned narrow lanes. Sharma said Fremont and Union City are among the cities already slowing traffic in this way.
Ron Pounding has lived on Lincoln Boulevard for 19 years, and he has mapped out 13 accidents off the 200-yard stretch of his street from Richard Drive to Bondy Lane in the past three years. A child was hospitalized three weeks ago with internal bleeding after a speeding car ploughed into a parked pickup while the young girl was being strapped into a back seat by her mother, Pounding said. Photos taken by Pounding show that other cars have shot off the road into yards, trees and fences.
Pounding was just one of many locals to complain about speeders, according to a report prepared for City Council, but he doubts whether new lane markings will cut down on accidents.
“What’s a stripe going to do” said Pounding, who thinks more stop signs would be a better solution. “Are these guys drag racing going to see the stripe and say ‘We’d better slow down’”
Although Pounding described police as generally “inactive” in tackling the speeding problem, he said he has seen more police handing out tickets along Lincoln Boulevard since he met with City Manager Dan Hobbs, police Chief David Krauss and two other officers Aug. 28.
Between 1 percent and 2 percent of cars measured recently at two spots between Valerie Avenue and Beverley Place were clocked at more than 55 mph in the 30 mph zone, according to civil engineer Ripon Bhatia. Between 64 percent and 75 percent of cars were clocked at between 26 mph and 35 mph.
Councilwoman Evelyn Tolbert, who praised Lincoln Boulevard residents for banding together to tackle the speeding problem, said the speed measurement devices used by city employees may have skewed the results.
“Once you spot it (the road tubes) everybody slows down — even if you’re within the speed limit, you slow down,” Tolbert said.
Neighbor Marcos Valez said speeding has become more of a problem since he moved into his home on Lincoln Boulevard three years ago. Like other residents interviewed, he said he worries for the safety of West High School students walking to school.
If the narrower lanes help slow traffic, the trick may spread to other parts of the city, beginning with Lowell Avenue between Lincoln Boulevard and Tracy Boulevard, and Central Avenue between Schulte Road and Tracy Boulevard.
The city is also changing some speed limits, with Presidio Drive between Jackson Avenue and Compton Place set to drop from 35 mph to 25 mph. Sections of Glenbrook Drive and Jefferson Parkway will see speed limits dropped by 5 mph.
To reach reporter John Upton, call 830-4274 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.