The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) staff is recommending that four intersections between Traffic Way and Los Berros Road along Highway 101 should close.
At a packed public outreach meeting on March 21, staff discussed the results of the second phase of the board's $30,000 two-step assessment process to understand the implications of restricting left turns on this stretch of the highway.
- Photo Courtesy Of Jordan Grant's Facebook Memorial Page
- IN MEMORY The Grants continue to advocate for the closure of the El Campo Road intersection on Highway 101 where their son Jordan Grant was killed in October 2018.
Stephen Hanamaikai, transportation planner, said the study looked at the impact of closing four intersections—El Campo Road, a private un-named road, Tower Grove Drive, and Hemi Road—with concrete median barriers.
"The main findings were that by eliminating those turning movements at those crossings, it would greatly improve safety along that stretch of the 101 and reduce the possibility of high severity collisions," Hanamaikai said.
Due to community input, he said, the report also looked into how the potential closures could affect emergency response times. According to the report, the nearest response station effectively maintains a 10-minute or less emergency response time and proposes having an access route for first responders.
"The California Highway Patrol has indicated that a soft at-grade access will be maintained on Highway 101 within the study area at a location yet to be determined. The soft access will allow law enforcement, fire/medical emergency responders, and Caltrans maintenance vehicles to cross and access the highway from either direction of travel," the report stated.
The report also stated that the closures would only increase travel time for the surrounding community by about two to seven minutes. Hanamaikai said staff will be taking their findings to the April 3 SLOCOG board meeting and will recommend that the board support the closure.
The two-step assessment was initiated after community members called for urgent short-term and long-term solutions to El Campo Road following the death of Cal Poly student Jordan Grant. On Oct. 7, 2018, Grant was fatally struck by a BMW that was in the process of making an unsafe left turn at the intersection.
Grant's parents, James and Becky Grant, who were at the March 21 public meeting, said the intersection closures are just one step in their commitment to help fix the issue. The second step, James told New Times, would be to find a way to build an overpass in five years through accelerating the planning studies and finding a public and/or private partnership structure.
James said that he started an alliance of landowners and others in the area to work on expediting the planning of an overpass and offered a $100,000 gift as long as the local landowners join him in the effort. He and Becky have also offered the city of Arroyo Grande up to $50,000 to offset incremental costs they incur as a result of the partial closure.
"We believe we have overwhelming and undeniable support for implementing these public safety improvements as quickly as possible," James said. Δ