Decoro Dr. loses two lanes and homeowners along busy road are upset.
If you haven’t been on Decoro Dr. in a while, you might be surprised to learn that the four lane road between McBean Parkway and Seco Canyon Rd. has been trimmed to just two lanes, in the city of Santa Clarita’s efforts to add a bike lane.
While the addition to the area’s bike friendly tilt is usually met with open arms, residents in the Northbridge area are expressing their lack of enthusiasm for the project.
They say that by decreasing one lane in each direction, the roadway has become congested, dangerous and inefficient.
A group of area residents spoke out during the public participation period of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, citing an overload of cars and an apparent shortage of bicyclists actually using the new lanes.
“This change was unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer dollars,” said one resident, who asked that the roads be re-striped to two lanes in each direction.
Words like “baffled,” and “flabbergasted” were used to describe the new traffic patterns by those who use the roadway on a daily basis.
Decoro Dr. is a popular traffic artery, especially around school hours, as the road leads to Santa Clarita elementary school, Arroyo Seco and Rio Norte Jr. Highs, and Valencia High school.
One resident claimed that a city employee told her that the traffic patterns on the roadway were studied and it was determined that the volume did not warrant a four lane road.
“Did the City traffic department do studies on bike traffic?” she asked, questioning whether or not the perceived need for a bike lane was greater then the need for existing vehicle lanes.
An oversized median may be the one saving grace in this entire debacle.
Mayor Frank Ferry asked City Manager Ken Pulskamp about the large median on the roadway and asked if that could be altered to make room for the requested lanes while still keeping a bike lane.
“Can’t we make everyone happy?” he asked.
Pulskamp told the Council that there is indeed enough room for four lanes, a five-foot bike lane and some form of a median.
“One of the things about having a local government is that you can come down here and be heard directly,” said Council member Bob Kellar. “Occasionally we make mistakes.”
“If I could go out with a bucket of paint before school started I would have,” said Council member Laurie Ender.
However, before the Council jumped to add the lanes back, they signaled that they were not about to make an old mistake twice.
Roughly one year ago, after repeated requests from residents of Benz Rd. to ease high-speed traffic on the residential street, the Council voted to install a traffic diverter in the surrounding Saugus neighborhood to shut down use as a shortcut between Bouquet Canyon Rd. and Copper Hill Dr. The only problem with that was that hundreds of residents were impacted by the resulting traffic alteration and they overwhelmed a special City Council meeting. The diverter was quickly removed.
In this case, the Council directed City staff to meet with the two neighborhoods HOA’s and act in the best interest of the community in making all necessary alterations to the roadway. If local residents are evenly divided over the issue, the case will be brought back before the Council. If residents overwhelmingly ask for the vehicle lanes to be replaced, then City staff will act accordingly.