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Doug Sink: The Decoro Drive change should be reversed

SCV Voices

Posted: September 1, 2009 4:20 p.m.
Updated: September 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.

My neighbors, coworkers and I are impacted by the Decoro re-striping and elimination of two traffic lanes to install unnecessary bike lanes, and frustrated residents who have seen the city of Santa Clarita's engineers fix something that was not broken without even consulting with or advising us.

I live near Decoro and Hillsborough in Northbridge Point. One of the reasons I moved there 12 years ago was the excellent roads, especially the four-lane Decoro Drive. The past few weeks I have seen the city repave a road that probably did not need it and now take two automobile traffic lanes away so bicycles can navigate this road - how ridiculous is this?

In my 12 years commuting to work down Decoro to McBean Parkway, I have probably seen at most a half-dozen bikes use the road, and if they do they mostly use the sidewalk. However, daily there is a need for four lanes for cars due to the early morning traffic, especially when schools are in session. The same traffic takes place during the evening commute time.

I cannot believe any sane person can advocate removing two car lanes so bikes can be safer on a road on which they never are seen or use. What about the traffic problems this causes for the overwhelming majority of autos that use this road? Are bikes now more important to the point car lanes are removed and useless turn lanes added? The turn lanes are not needed and take away from the traffic flow.

What is next? McBean by the Post Office will have lanes removed so bikes can use them, ignoring the effect on autos?

I know the city engineers will say they did traffic studies, but they will not release them when asked. They say Decoro traffic did not warrant four lanes. However, none of them probably drives on Decoro during commute times. All this will do is force people like me to use Hillsborough to Newhall Ranch Road and bypass Decoro, adding to my commute time and adding traffic to a true residential street versus Decoro.

The bike lanes are useless to me - I cannot ride a bike seven miles to work in the morning.

My commute the first morning with the new setup took at least five minutes longer. Traffic backs up to and past Grandview, and the left turn lanes onto McBean, which were already bad, are now worse. This means more gasoline burned and less of my time at work.
Obviusly, the city traffic engineers do not live near Decoro or I am sure the change would never have happened.

Why weren't the residents like me advised in advance or given a chance to give our feedback prior to the change? Instead, I read in The Signal story about it a quote from Gail Ortiz, the city's public information officer: "...(the) decision to go ahead with the plans (is) part of a quest to become a more bike-friendly community."

Hopefully this was not a serious statement, since this action will cause more automobile traffic on a heavily traveled road where there are hardly ever any bikes due to the steep incline on the road.

I certainly hope city officials will listen to residents and reverse this decision and re-stripe Decoro back to four lanes. A busy street like Decoro is not the place to put bikes ahead of autos.

The next time I hope the city engineers will not show so much arrogance and will contact the residents, inform them and listen to their concerns before unilaterally making a change like this that affects all of our lives daily.

Doug Sink is a Valencia resident. His views represent his own and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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