PACIFIC GROVE — In an effort to “calm traffic” along a popular Pacific Grove tourist route, city officials are looking at options that could have major effects on traffic along Ocean View Boulevard.
Coming up next week at its Feb. 3 meeting, City Council will look at a number of options — short term and long term — of increasing safety on the increasingly congested roadway.
The idea of making changes, including one option to make Ocean View one way, was raised by former City Councilwoman Cynthia Garfield this past summer.
The traffic is having a “massive impact on our community from the increased number of visitors driving, walking and parking along our coastline,” Garfield, who did not seek reelection, said in July. “With stores and restaurants closed our visitors have had no other place to be except outdoor areas.”
The council next week will consider options sent up from the city’s Traffic Commission. One option recommended for immediate action is to paint “sharrows” — the chevrons and bicycle emblems seen in bicycle lanes — on the roadway to remind motorists that the roadway is shared with bicyclists.
There is no room to create a bike lane along the roadway’s westbound shoulder since that area is taken up by parked vehicles. Anyone who has parked or peddled along Ocean View will attest to the caution needed when opening car doors or trying to pass bicyclists. The idea of painting sharrows is to hopefully have bicycles move away from swinging car doors.
The Rec Trail itself can get crowded, particularly in the summer when it fills with tourists and forces joggers out into the street.
Included in that recommendation — the Traffic Commission is an advisory body only — is to refresh all roadway markings, including speed limit markings and center lines. There are numerous considerations to be made in any decision, such as costs, required permitting, neighborhood impacts and access to houses.
The targeted area runs from Point Pinos to Asilomar Boulevard. Past Asilomar Boulevard there is a dedicated bike lane.
Congestion is the biggest concern. In a report that will be provided to the council by Public Works Director Dan Gho, speeding cars are not a significant worry. Public Works crews installed traffic counters at two locations on Ocean View to gather data about vehicle speeds.
Recorded on Aug. 8 and Aug. 22 and two more days on Sept. 1 and Sept. 15, data on some 74,000 passing vehicles were captured and analyzed. The results showed that speeding was not a significant concern, Gho wrote in his report.
Only 1% of the vehicles recorded on those four days exceeded the 25 mph speed limit, and the majority of those were by 6 mph.
Contributed by local news sources