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Spanish Street Intersection at Amador High School

Reason for Review

The 2000-2001 Grand Jury conducted an investigation of the Spanish Street intersection at Amador High School in Sutter Creek as authorized by Penal Code Sections 925 and 925(a).  The investigation was conducted as a follow-up to the1998-1999 Grand Jury Report.

Background

In 1999 the Amador County Grand Jury conducted interviews and observed the intersection of Spanish Street and Amador High School access road in Sutter Creek.  Sutter Creek Upper Elementary School is located on the Amador High School access road.  The Grand Jury made specific recommendations to the Amador County Unified School District concerning the intersection, one of which should have been directed to the City of Sutter Creek.  The recommendation was:  “Post '3-way stop' on stop signs at Spanish Street intersection.”  This recommendation has not been adequately addressed nor has it been implemented.

Methodology

Members of the Grand Jury conducted interviews, observed the intersection at peak student travel times, and reviewed documents. 

Persons interviewed:

Other sources:

Facts

1.       The intersection of Spanish Street and the Amador High School access road is a four-way intersection. 

2.       There are stops signs at three corners of the intersection.  There is no stop sign for traffic coming from the direction of Highway 49.

3.       “3-Way Stop” signs have not been posted, as recommended by the 1998-1999 Grand Jury.

4.       After a sewer pipe was repaired on the street (Amador High access road) between Amador High School and Sutter Creek Upper Elementary School, crosswalk lines were not repainted.

5.       There are no permanently assigned crossing guards at the Spanish Street and Amador High School access road during peak traffic times.

6.       The intersection painting, specifically the crosswalk and limit-lines, are either faded or missing.

7.       The corner without a stop sign has a crosswalk.

Findings

1.       On the corner of the intersection with no stop sign, there is a crosswalk.  However, oncoming traffic could mistake the crosswalk lines as a stop sign limit-line, thereby confusing those drivers.

2.       From observations of the intersection during peak traffic periods, it appears that there is a high risk of serious injury and/or property damage due to the design of the intersection and the traffic-flow patterns.

Recommendations

1.       Repaint crosswalk lines at Spanish Street and the access road for the safety of pedestrians using the crosswalks.

2.       Paint/repaint signage on the roadway leading to the intersection, specifically, “STOP AHEAD,” “PEDESTRIAN XING,” and “SCHOOL XING.”

3.       Conduct a feasibility/traffic study on the viability of placing a fourth stop sign at the intersection, making it a four-way stop.

4.       Until a fourth stop sign is in place and/or the intersection redesigned, place signs at the three existing stop signs letting stopped vehicles know that traffic coming from the direction of Highway 49 does not stop.

5.       The crosswalk at the corner without a stop sign should be removed, so all crosswalk lines will correspond with their respective stop sign(s).

Response Required

As required in Section 933.05 of the Penal Code, the Mayor of the City of Sutter Creek must respond to each finding and recommendation in the manner indicated on page one of this report.