You may have noticed a man wearing a bright orange shirt directing traffic at the corner of Fair Oaks and Huntington Drive at 8 a.m. Thursday.
It was South Pas resident Alan Ehrlich, who says traffic was backed up for blocks due to a broken traffic light. He noticed the mess when taking his kids to school and decided to take initiative.
"Traffic was backed up forever. Traffic spilling over to the side streets. No police or traffic control officers present, so I put on a bright orange shirt to make sure I was visible, and I grabbed two orange safety flags," said Ehrlich.
Onlookers say traffic was cleared within 10 to 15 minutes of Ehrlich directing vehicles.
Yet after about 20 minutes, he was issued a citation by South Pas Police for "pedestrian on roadway," he said. And the police told him that they are not required under California law to regulate the traffic.
Currently, there are several stop signs set up throughout the intersection directing traffic. (See attached video and photos for a visual.)
"This is an unplanned Edison service outage in the area due to extreme heat," said Public Works Director Shin Furukawa. "Their website currently says power is expected to be restored by 11 p.m. tonight. The City has set up temporary stop signs for traffic control purposes."
Yet this isn't the first time this specific set of lights have gone out. And residents are nervous of the safety hazards that come with it.
"The light goes out periodically," said Richard Gerrish, who owns at the Corner of Fair Oaks and Huntington. "There's been at least one incident where a traffic officer was there."
"The 20 minutes while I was observing the intersection prior to Alan showing up, I saw many accidents that could have occurred," he continued.
Ehrlich says he hopes to see the City implement a formal traffic management policy. He has already scheduled appointments with City staff and will be presenting his concerns at the next City Council meeting.
did not respond to Patch in time for this article.
What the Law Says
According to Section 125 of the California Streets and Highways
Code, "traffic may be regulated by warning signs, lights, appropriate control devices, or by a person or persons controlling and directing the flow of traffic."
"It is unlawful for any person to disobey the traffic directions of a person appointed or authorized by a local authority to regulate traffic pursuant to subdivision," the law goes on to say.
Section 21100 of the state's vehicle code also states that "local authorities may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution regarding various situations, including "regulating traffic by means of a person given temporary or permanent appointment for that duty by the local authority when official traffic control devices are disabled or otherwise inoperable, at the scenes of accidents or disasters, or at locations as may require traffic direction for orderly traffic flow."
Click on the video to your right to see footage of cars driving through the intersection.
Patch Asks: Do you think the City should implement a formal traffic management policy? If so, what are your ideas and concerns?