A road accident on the corner of Marengo Avenue and Oxley Street last week has prompted South Pasadena’s Public Works Department to take a fresh look at residents’ demands for a four-way stop sign in the area.
The accident, between two cars, occurred on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 28, near Marengo Elementary School, causing one of the cars to jump on the sidewalk.
A nearby resident told South Pasadena Patch that the vehicles collided “just as school was starting at Marengo” and that had the collision occurred “a few minutes earlier there may have been a child standing on the sidewalk where the car ended up.”
The intersection is “often the site of fender-benders and sometimes worse” because a two-way stop sign on Oxley isn’t enough to prevent mishaps, the resident said.
But Deputy Public Works Director Shin Furukawa told Patch that “there’s never enough traffic on Oxley” to justify installing another stop sign on Marengo. Besides, stressed Furukawa, for a four-way stop sign to be installed, the number of accidents at a given intersection must meet the level of so-called “warrants”—or accidents—specified in a Caltrans manual.
The last time the city conducted a traffic study of the intersection was in January 2010, Public Works Director Paul Toor told Patch. And over a three-year period from 2006 to 2008, no accidents were reported at the intersection.
In fact, said Toor, quoting a report maintained by the South Pasadena Police Department, there have been only four accidents at the intersection over the past 11 years. Two of the accidents were in 2010—and none in 2011 or 2012, Toor said.
The South Pasadena City Council reviewed traffic records pertaining to the Marengo-Oxley intersection in June 2010, Toor said, adding that the records "didn't meet the traffic warrants."
The figures may not have been updated because the data is generally a year old, Toor admitted. “But if somebody complains we always look into the matter—and we’ll take another look at that intersection.”
A four-way stop sign generally costs no more than $1,000 to install, Toor said, adding: "The cost is not that expensive, but the question is does the intersection meet the warrants?"
Asked why a four-way stop sign was installed on the crossing at Oxley and Mound Avenue about a year ago, as the concerned resident had noted by way of comparison, Toor said that the issue had to do with traffic visibility from Oxley. Because traffic coming from Mound wasn't easily visible, "there was a safety issue—a criteria for mitigation." Even then, a traffic engineer was required to make a recommendation, and the four-way stop sign had to be approved by the City Council.
There was also the question of the "W" word: The Oxley-Mound intersection met the necessary number of warrants, Furukawa said.