Mad River Union
McKINLEYVILLE – Neighbors on Hiller Road in McKinleyville are asking the county to do something to slow down traffic and to improve the safety of the road’s intersection with the Hammond Trail.
Their efforts received a boost April 25 when the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC) voted unanimously to send a letter to Humboldt County Public Works asking that something be done about the problem. The committee will also invite Public Works Director Tom Mattson to an upcoming meeting to talk about possible solutions to improve safety on the residential roadway.
The committee’s action came about after Hiller Road resident Kelly Eckberg gave a short presentation on the challenges faced by the neighborhood. Eckberg said that there are no stops along Hiller Road from Ocean Drive all the way to McKinleyville Avenue, giving motorists an uninterupted stretch of roadway to pick up speed. She said that speeding is common and some people drive like it’s a drag strip.
Despite the road being flanked by a residential neighborhood, with no sidewalks west of U.S. Highway 101, the posted speed limit for Hiller is 35 mph, compared to 25 mph on nearby residential streets.
Some cars don’t even bother to slow down when they reach the intersection where the Hammond Trail crosses Hiller Road, she said. Those who do slow down are concerned that they may get rear-ended by fast-moving vehicles behind them.
These hazards exist in an area that is heavily used by pedestrians and bicyclists, who not only travel along the Hammond Trail, but also use Hiller Road as an east-west connection to other parts of town.
Eckberg, who said she was representing several Hiller Road residents, is asking that stop signs be installed at the intersection of Hiller Road and the Hammond Trail/Hiller Park entrance. She said she would also like to have the speed limit reduced to 25 mph, and have it enforced.
Committee member Ben Shepherd suggested that Mattson, the county’s director of public works, be invited to an upcoming meeting to discuss options for Hiller Road.
Committee members threw out several ideas for dealing with the problem, including the installation of speed humps, traffic islands, lights and a painted crosswalk.
Eckberg said that while the neighbors want something done about the problem, they’re also being realistic about the cost. “We’re trying to keep the cost way down, so we’re not asking for anything unrealistic,” she said.
McKinleyville resident Dennis Mayo told the committee that it’s important to consider traffic calming measures that make people slow down, because a lot of people have no idea that they’re going too fast. “People are velocitized,” Mayo said.