Complaints have been coming into City Hall ever since the city's first traffic signal was installed at Black and Santa Rita Road in the 1970s. Obviously, it's all too much for a street so narrow that there's no room for a bicycle lane. So last year, the Black Avenue neighbors found a friend in Traffic Engineer Mike Tassano, who organized a "traffic calming" meeting to consider remedies. The $405,000 program presented to the City Council is his answer, which is a bit much for the $25,000 his department has for traffic calming programs throughout the city in a single year. So while accepting his recommendations, not much will happen until next July when funds can be made available in the 2014-15 Fiscal Year budget.
Looking at Tassano's plan, however, conjures up an image of the huge costs the city incurred in construction traffic circles on Vineyard Avenue when that new roadway was installed between Montevino and Ruby Hill. The circles lost favor with the motoring public shortly after they were finished. In the end, about a year later, the city paid to have them removed.
Tassano's plan calls for similar traffic calming elements such as curb "bulb outs," which will provide very narrow lanes at some intersections and crosswalks, a roadway "neckdown" in front of the aquatic center, which will do much the same, a trial speed "lump" that will slow vehicles to a crawl, 25 mph pavement legends painted on the roadway, and possibly another electronic sign to show motorists' speeds.
Tassano said that a traffic speed survey shows motorists are traveling an average of 31 mph., about typical of neighborhood streets where posted speeds are 25 mph. The suggested changes might reduce those averages, but probably not the volume because Black Avenue will continue to be the street of choice, really the only street that parents, students, swimmers church go-ers and postal customers can use to reach their destinations.