The Long Way Around

January 20, 1995|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

The sidewalks county crews are installing along Catherine and Outing avenues to keep pedestrians safe are making life difficult for drivers who travel the same streets, some Green Haven residents say.

"If I go to Lucky's, it's six blocks. When I come back it's 25 blocks," said Amos Willis, who must travel a maze of one-way streets to get to and from his home on 211th Street to the convenience store at Outing Avenue and Mountain Road.

To make room for the sidewalks, Outing Avenue was changed in October from a two-way, two-lane street to a one-way, one-lane street from 218th Street to Duvall Highway. Catherine Avenue became a one-way, one-lane street from Mountain Road to Duvall Highway.

At first, Green Haven residents used Mayford Avenue to avoid the one-way sections of Outing, adding about 1,000 cars a day to the residential street until November, when county officials put up "Do Not Enter" signs at the Mayford-Outing intersection.

The signs have curbed traffic on Mayford Avenue, but they also have made travel in the neighborhood that much less convenient. Now, Green Haven residents, who once used Outing Avenue for short trips in the community, turn left onto Mountain Road, then left again onto Catherine Avenue to get home.

Mr. Willis said he has been lobbying the county to stop the construction of the sidewalks and restore Outing and Catherine avenues to two-way streets. But the project has been in the making for about four years, said Jim Schroll, a county traffic engineer.

Neighborhood groups were concerned about pedestrian accidents involving schoolchildren along the busy roads. In one such accident, a child was killed.

"There were no safe walking routes for kids going to George Fox or for people who want to go to the park, or even just to walk around the neighborhood," Mr. Schroll said.

But building the sidewalks "would have meant we were going to have to take people's front yards," Mr. Schroll said.

The county and the Pasadena Traffic Safety Committee agreed to use one traffic lane for sidewalks and make the streets one-way.

But that plan led to the traffic problems residents have complained about.

Mr. Schroll said the county already has asked the State Highway Administration to add a left turn signal to the traffic light at Catherine Avenue and Mountain Road to help eastbound traffic on Mountain Road.

County traffic engineers also will look into adjusting the timing on the traffic signal at Outing Avenue and Mountain Road.

Carolyn Roeding, chairwoman of the Safety Committee, said the inconvenience is a problem but that "the safety issue outweighs the inconvenience."

"I've seen joggers jogging; I've seen kids on bicycles. This is

unheard of on Catherine and Outing," she said.

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