Pedestrians trying to negotiate the four lanes of traffic on Cliff Drive.
Paul Wellman

The Mesa Architects, a loosely knit group of Mesa activists, packed the City Council chambers Tuesday night in favor of a plan to re-stripe the strip of Cliff Drive between Loma Alta and Lighthouse Road to reduce the number of lanes, reduce driver speed, and reduce accidents. Councilmembers heard horror stories galore about rear-end collisions and of one woman killed as she backed her car out of her driveway. They were told that in the last 10 years there have been 30 rear-enders along the stretch and 106 total collisions.

Because Cliff Drive is a state highway, technically owned and operated by Caltrans, City Hall has been unable to respond to such chronic safety concerns and Caltrans has said additional stop signs, crosswalks, and traffic signals are not warranted. But after a guided tour of the area in May, Caltrans budged and proposed re-striping the street to allow for two dedicated turn lanes, two through lanes, and two bike lanes. The work would have to be done now to coincide with the repaving now underway, insisted Caltrans, and the City Council would have to endorse it.

Though some of the councilmembers like Michael Self have expressed concern with traffic calming strategies in general, even they voted for the plan, citing the outpouring of community support. The vote was 7-0.


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