Serving the community since 1922

City Council moves on pedestrian safety

The Shafter City Council approved extra striping and signage to protect pedestrians on a stretch of West Tulare Avenue from Poplar Avenue and Highway 43.

Residents have voiced their concerns on the amount of speeders on West Tulare, especially at the intersection of West Tulare and Santa Maria avenues, near a church and an apartment complex.

Councilmember Gilbert Alvarado said at Tuesday night's council meeting that he is very concerned about the safety of pedestrians at this intersection. "I attend the church at Santa Maria, and we held a Vacation Bible School there a couple of weeks ago. We were very concerned with the amount of people speeding down West Tulare. We ended up putting up some cones around the shoulder to try to get the drivers to slow down."

The city looked at traffic data, and Public Works Director Michael James said that according to the California Manual, requirements for a four-way stop do not include speeders. He said that a stop sign would not fix the speeder problem along that stretch of road.

If the city elected to place stop signs at the intersection without the Manual's direction to do so, it could become liable for any accident at occurred there.

The department recommended pedestrian safety improvements, such as striping of the road and additional signage. Alvarado questioned the effectiveness of just having the signs and striping at the location. James commented that the city could conduct further traffic studies for the area, including car counts, and also video that could be used to register how many speeders, as well as any near-collisions that occur at the location that would possibly steer the council in the direction of adding a four-way stop sign at the location.

The item was then approved, with the addition of ordering additional traffic studies to be done that would better equip the city with information that would make the installation of a stop sign at the location viable and necessary.

On that stretch of road, there are no stop signs or anything to slow the traffic down all the way from Poplar Avenue to Highway 43,

In other city action, the council thanked recently retired Assistant Chief of Police Diana Burnett for her 30 years of service to the community.. Burnett worked her way from officer, to sergeant, to assistant chief, and collected numerous awards and accolades for her outstanding performance. "We thank Assistant Chief Burnett for her dedication and passion for our community, and she will be missed by so many," Mayor Chad Givens said during a recognition ceremony.


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