County: Median on Central Avenue would reduce crashes

From the 12.26.12 edition

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By Jack Durham

Press Editor & Reporter


Placing a median strip down Central Avenue would reduce vehicle accidents and “enhance the overall ambiance of the community,” according to Chris Whitworth, Deputy Director of Humboldt County Public Works.

Whitworth discussed the project at the Dec. 19 meeting of the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC).

The county has received $800,000 in funding for the proposed median, which would be built from School Road to Hiller Road. The main impetus for the project is to reduce accidents on Central Avenue, which is the most-traveled and most-accident-prone road in the county’s system.

Central Avenue averages 18,000 vehicles a day, with about five to 10 vehicle accidents a year, according to Whitworth. Studies have shown that the installation of raised medians with dedicated left-hand-turn lanes can reduce accident rates from 25 percent to 50 percent, Whitworth told the McKMAC.

Central Avenue between Hiller and School Road has two lanes in each direction divided by a continuous, uninterrupted center turn lane. One person at the meeting described the existing median as a “suicide lane.”

Whitworth said the county is planning a raised median with a “hardscape” surface made of cement patterned and colored to look like brick. Left-hand turn lanes would be included along the median.

McKMAC Chairman Ben Shepherd inquired about the possibility of including landscaping in the median, and noted that there’s already an existing Central Avenue Landscape Maintenance Zoned administered by the McKinleyville Community Services District, Merchants and property owners pay a monthly fee on their combined sewer and water bills to maintain landscaping on either side of Central Avenue.
Whitworth said that landscaping was a possibility, but there would have to be a way to pay for its maintenance, something that the county doesn’t have funds to do. One option is to include low-maintenance trees in the median.

“We have a lot of leeway to modify what we’ve proposed,” Whitworth said.

The median project will likely return to the McKMAC at a future meeting, The county hopes to start construction next summer,

The McKMAC can be reached at





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2 responses to “County: Median on Central Avenue would reduce crashes

  1. "Henchman Of Justice"

    Maybe the McKinleyville Chamber of Commerce can get businesses to pitch some cashola into an expanded Central Avenue Business Improvement District Landscaping Fund (volunteer donations of course).

    Of course, the MCSD already as a regulation for landscaping within the Central Avenue Right-Of-Way from Mill Creek Shopping Center north past Hiller (landscaping beds adjacent to sidewalks); yet, they abdicate their responsibilities to maintain these landscaped areas free from commercial advertizings signs that not only violate the equal protection standards of the U.S Constitution, but the MCSD’s very own regulation (makes MCSD look flippish and uncaring – What’s new? same ole, same ole abdications of laws).

    If trees are used in these “new medians”, then they should be evergreens to avoid the leafage that falls in such a WINDY GEOGRAPHIC. Also, the root system needs to not have the power to “rip-up concrete or the road bed/pavement”. Additionally, the site visibilities can’t be impaired. The sizes of the curb must also take into consideration “tractor trailor size equipment”.

    The new Samoa Improvements in Arcata looked as if they were going to plant something (circular landscape holes formed into colored concrete pour in center raised medians).

    Lastly, these raised medians will help greatly reduce those drivers who decide to use the middle turn lane as their dedicated lane to pass the two legal lanes full of cars. Drivers that do this illegal maneuver are hard to arrest and ticket because the CHP is always on the move; and, when it does happen with CHP near or present, it is always the car that was BEHIND THE CHP SOMEWHERE, NOT IN FRONT.

    Drivers who use the center turn lane as their own personal driving lane deserve their own pains when they cause an accident. Too bad they could not have their driver’s license rescinded FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD TO LIFE! Then again, DMV don’t care about quality of driving.


    DMV cares about QUANTITY OF DRIVING?


    DMV employees have to get paid somehow AND the State of California is IN DEEP DEBT DOO DOO! So, once again, DMV shows it has no care in the world to care about zilch – its all about the money!!! – HOJ

  2. You can certainly see your enthusiasm within the article you write.
    The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how they believe.

    At all times follow your heart.

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