Carmel Valley Road, for all its bucolic beauty, has some gnarly intersections – dangerous enough that the number of accidents has triggered the county to take a closer look.
Last fall, the Monterey County Public Works Department reported that conditions at seven intersections warrant the installation of new traffic signals: at Cañada Way, Brookdale Drive, Valley Greens Drive / Cañada de la Segunda, Tierra Grande Drive, Dorris Drive, Robinson Canyon Road (westbound) and Laureles Grade Road.
Trouble is, many residents don’t want new lights, a point made clear in the 2010 Carmel Valley Master Plan.
“The community wants to keep it rural, and signals makes it feel more urbanized,” says Carl Holm, deputy director of the county Resource Management Agency.
“We have said to the county, ‘No more stop lights, no more four-laning,’” says Margaret Robbins, a member of the county’s advisory Carmel Valley Road Committee.
The county agreed to explore other options by looking at the trouble spots as a whole corridor. The goal is to improve the road’s safety without installing seven new lights.
The county hired Salinas firm Kimley-Horn & Associates to conduct the corridor study. “We’re trying to not have signals on Carmel Valley Road if we can avoid it,” Holm says. “If you control [traffic] at one point, you can have a beneficial effect at other points along the corridor.”
On June 27, the county applied for a $200,000 grant to fund a feasibility study of a roundabout at Laureles Grade and Carmel Valley Road, which has a higher historical collision rate than nearby intersections.