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Mayor calls Benz Road meeting

Outcry prompts Kellar to recommend removing diverters

Posted: September 26, 2008 9:49 p.m.
Updated: November 28, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar said he will recommend tearing down the new Benz Road traffic diverter after Saugus residents exploded in protest this week saying the diverter messes up the neighborhood traffic pattern.|

Kellar called for a special council meeting for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when he will recommend removing the barriers the city installed Wednesday at the Benz Road and Alaminos Drive intersection.

“It is quite obvious by the outpouring of calls and e-mails to City Hall that this was wrong,” Kellar said. “If we make a mistake, we need to correct it.”

The City Council voted in August to install a barrier to discourage drivers from using Benz Road as a shortcut between Bouquet Canyon Road and Copper Hill Drive. Traffic volumes on Benz Road climbed from a few hundred vehicles per day to more than 3,300 when the road was opened up to Copper Hill Drive five years ago.

The city brought in stop signs, turn restrictions and other calming measures. Though traffic improved, Benz Road residents said there were still too many cars on their quiet residential street.

The council voted to try the diverter for three months and compare the traffic counts. The council would then decide on the next course of action.

The barrier pushes Benz Road traffic onto Alaminos Drive which prevents drivers from using Benz Road as a through street.

Parents discovered the roadblock as they picked up their kids from Bouquet Canyon Elementary School Wednesday and several said the new traffic pattern adds 10 minutes to what was a five-minute drive to the school.

Some residents welcome the new barriers.

Susan Wachter, a Kathleen Avenue resident for eight years, said Friday the diverters calmed traffic on her normally busy street.

“From 4:30 to 6:30 every night it was a constant stream of cars turning right on Copper Hill and flying down Kathleen Avenue,” she said. “Last night my kids were riding their scooters out front, and I walked across the street to a neighbor’s house and didn’t have to dodge any cars.”

“I’m listening to the community,” Kellar said. “At the same time, I’d like to be clear that this council has been trying to come up with a solution that would be acceptable for the community.”

The special meeting will be held in the City Council Chambers of City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd.


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