New No Left Turn Sign Impacts Morning Drive

New No Left Turn Sign Impacts Morning Drive

Jackie Steele

The new sign has received complaints about being hidden by bushes.

Jackie Steele, Staff Writer

Look out Miramonte drivers. Another no left turn sign has graced us with its presence on Whitehall Drive. The new sign, which prohibits a left hand turn from 7-8 a.m., was voted on by 44 neighbors within the area. Voters received polling notices after a traffic calming request was sent to the city last November.

According to the City of Orinda Vice-Chair, Mark Roberts, the Ivy Drive and Southwaite Court signs simply “kicked the problem down the street,” suggesting that although the sign may solve problems for Ivy Drive residents, it only causes more trouble for other sidestreet neighbors. Whitehall Drive saw an increase in traffic by 30-40 cars between 7:30-8:30 a.m. after the sign on Southwaite Court was installed.

Traffic consultants Fehr & Peers observed and reviewed the traffic on Whitehall Drive from December 2011 to January 2012 and after analyzing the data, they recommended to not install the no left turn sign. Neighbors, however, rose the issue of pedestrian safety and potential traffic concerns.

“The TSAC (Traffic Safety Advisory Committee of Orinda) process is fair and lends a voice to all concerned,” Orinda Police Chief Jeffrey Jennings said. “They consider all issues and have a public forum.” The Orinda Police Department has no say in where the signs go or when they are implemented, but merely enforce their presence.

The signs themselves might be creating a new problem, a possibility that has been addressed by students. The back roads that are now off-limits cause traffic to be primarily on Moraga Way, causing a longer commute for students and a congested Moraga Way. “I think all the no left turn signs are really unnecessary,” senior Alexander Jorgensen said. “The traffic needs to be more evenly dispersed.”

Despite possibly safer roads, Miramonte students generally dislike the new sign.

“If people were able to use Ivy Drive and Whitehall Drive, it would really help Moraga Way traffic and keep things more in balance,” senior Alyssa Barker said. Traffic calming measures are constantly changing, and there may be even more signage in the future.