Midway planners craft wish list to ease traffic woes
by Tony De Garate
Oct 31, 2012 | 4765 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Christmas isn’t until next month, but members of a citizen planning board have put together a wish list for submission to the city, with the goal of reducing traffic congestion, confusion and accidents in the Midway area.

Members of the North Bay Community Planning Group (NBCPG), which makes recommendations to the city having to do with land-use and quality-of-life issues, have taken advantage of an invitation to sound off on how the city should spend its fiscal year 2014 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget, a fund that never has enough money to go around.

CIP projects include parks, street improvements, lifeguard stations, libraries and other long-range infrastructure. Traditionally, the city has prioritized these projects using an internal procedure. But for fiscal year 2014, the city has invited all 40-odd community planning groups to weigh in.

At its monthly meeting Oct. 17, the NBCPG voted 8-0 for six priorities — two from the city’s “needs” list, which are proposals that currently lack funding — and four ideas of their own.

The two city-created projects are large swaths of new sidewalk in two places: along the south side of Kurtz Street between Hancock and Sherman streets north of the Valley View Casino Center; and the west side of Rosecrans Street from Sports Arena Boulevard to Pacific Highway.

The most ambitious priority is an idea the group generated to signalize the intersection of Barnett Avenue and southbound Pacific Highway. At the same time, the group calls for raising Barnett Avenue to grade, eliminating a World War II-era underpass members derided for being prone to flooding and traffic accidents.

The realignment would also allow pedestrian movement for surrounding businesses, said NBCPG chairwoman Melanie Nickel.

The underpass is believed to be a relic from the days when Convair manufactured planes in the area and needed access to Lindbergh Field, Nickel said.

“It may have made sense during World War II, but not today,” she said.

The three other priorities were:

• a study of traffic-calming measures on northbound Pacific Highway at the Barnett Avenue merge;

• a study of how improved overhead signage or in-lane stenciling on the Camino Del Rio West onramp to I-8 and I-5 could reduce confusion and make sure cars know they’re in the right lane;

• and a study of how to make eastbound traffic on Sports Arena Boulevard less disorienting upon approaching Rosecrans Street.

“It’s confusing. People don’t know what lane goes where. A lot of people wind up in Old Town instead of on the freeway,” Nickel said.

OTHER NBCPG NOTES

• The board voted 8-0 to approve a permit to add a self-serve, 24-hour car wash at the Arco gas station at

2940 Lytton St. Once final approval is granted, construction of the carwash and other improvements should begin in the winter and cause the station to close for up to six months, said Joan Villase of Gary Engineering.

• The NBCPG wants a new name. Actually, they want their old name back. The group voted 8-0 to return to being the Midway Community Planning Group, the name they gave up four years ago. The North Bay moniker in vogue then never really caught on and most people have continued to use Midway, group members said. It’s unclear when the name change will become official because it requires a formal amendment to the group’s bylaws.
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