‘No U-Turn’ sign needs better positioning, reader says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I was disappointed in your treatment of Mr. Jim Walt’s problem (published in Street Smarts March 31) with the signage at the Highway 1, Highway 9, North River Street intersection. The signage there is positively wretched. True, there is a plethora of signs all over the place, but they are not where drivers’ eyes are concentrated, namely on the traffic lights. For an example of correct signage on a very similar complex intersection look at 41st Avenue and Capitola Road. The signs are mounted on the support arm of the overhead traffic light. The 'No U Turn' provision is obvious, both by the symbol and text underneath it. Such a location would also cut down on the number of drivers who proceed straight ahead from a right turn lane. I urge you to take a page from the book of your BANG colleague 'Mr. Roadshow' in the Mercury News. Rather than give Mr. Colin Jones a forum for his snide 'gotcha' defending the present arrangement, point out to him what a bonehead layout this is. Frank Shelley, Santa Cruz A: As reported last week, neither Caltrans, the CHP nor Santa Cruz Police Department have received complaints about sign placement prior to this recent incident. What's more, neither of the two law enforcement agencies reported writing a gross amount of tickets at that intersection for noncompliance with the "No U-Turn" sign and neither agency could immediately determine the number of such citations there; however, Lt. Dan Flippo of SCPD did note that officers typically write tickets for other violations that occur there. "Most of the citations we issue at this intersection are for subjects panhandling on the median, pedestrians failing to obey the signal or drivers driving straight from the turn only lane from River Street towards Highway 9, on the opposite side of the intersection," he said. When asked whether there was a way to place a "No U-Turn" sign as you suggested, Caltrans said the traffic light arm may not be able to handle it. "The mast arm is rated for only one object, which would be the signal head," said Susana Cruz, Caltrans spokesperson. A Caltrans traffic engineer from Salinas will be dispatched to the intersection to determine the "the signal pole type and its case load rating for the mast arm," she explained. Whether changes to the sign placement will occur would be determined after the assessment by the traffic engineer, said Cruz. Stay tuned, she said.
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