SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Safety complaints about a fairly new intersection in northern Santa Barbara County has caught the attention of the County Civil Grand Jury.
The Union Valley Parkway is the culmination of decades of planning and several years of construction with the long-awaited east-west traffic artery opening last November.
Bob Silva has lived near the new intersection of California Boulevard and the Union Valley Parkway for more than 30 years.
"Its always exciting", Silva says, "I hear horns honking and brakes screeching everyday out there."
Silva is among many who live near, and travel through, the new UVP-California intersection everyday.
"Its a really dangerous intersection", Silva says, "they built a wall to protect from the sound, but its so high that if you are on California crossing Union Valley Parkway you can't see the traffic coming from your left."
"You have to pull part way into the crosswalk and almost into the intersection to see", Silva adds, "I've actually called in four wrecks myself on 911 because of accidents that have happened there."
In its most recent report entitled "Progress with Problems", the Santa Barbara County Civil Grand Jury has determined the UVP-California intersection does create dangerous traffic conditions.
The Grand Jury recommends installing a four-way stop at the intersection, installing four-way stop "warning signs: on the east and westbound UVP and
replacing "cross traffic does not stop" signs on California Boulevard with four-way stop warning signs.
"Yes, I would agree with that", says Robert Popp who also lives near the UVP-California intersection, "because I have a lot of trouble getting in and out of there."
Traffic count devices have been placed at the UVP-California intersection.
Completion of the Union Valley Parkway was a joint effort by the City of Santa Maria, County of Santa Barbara, Caltrans and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments.
The City of Santa Maria and County of Santa Barbara have 90 days to formally respond to the Grand Jury recommendations.