Walnut/Bijou safety questions draw responses from city

       City Traffic Engineering recently removed the stop sign for northbound Walnut Street traffic turning right onto Bijou Street and replaced it with a yield-to-pedestrians sign.

Northbound cars on Walnut Street at the Bijou Street intersection go different ways in this recent photo. The car at left, having stopped at the stop sign, is about to continue across the intersection. The car at right, following the new "yield" sign (far right, foreground) for cars in northbound Walnut's right- turn lane, is turning without stopping into the second eastbound-Bijou traffic lane that starts east of the intersection. The intersection is further complicated under a longstanding configuration in which westbound-Bijou traffic has no stop sign.
Westside Pioneer photo

       This led Westside resident Alex Echevarria to send an e-mail to the city, on which he copied the Westside Pioneer. The sign change has made the intersection “more hazardous,” he wrote in August, and asked Traffic Engineering the following question:
       “Is the northbound traffic from Walnut Street required to stop when making a right turn onto Bijou?”
       In his e-mail to the city, Echevarria also raised these points: “Most of the traffic does not stop and many are confused with the signage. It has become more dangerous to get through this intersection when you are eastbound (and stopping) on Bijou. The same applies to those turning left from southbound Walnut at the stop. I have seen too many [northbound] drivers go right through, turning right without looking for other traffic or for pedestrians. Last week I saw a motorist [who didn't stop] nearly clip a pedestrian attempting to cross. Do you intend to place a stop sign for those turning right or add a continuous lane sign? Are those of us stopping from the eastbound or southbound streets required to yield to those motorists turning right?”
       City Traffic Engineer Dave Krauth responded last week. He said in an e-mail to the Pioneer that the sign for northbound Walnut Street drivers turning right onto Bijou had been changed “at the request of motorists who had no one to stop for. They are turning onto an 'add lane' [instead of merging into an existing lane]. The northbound right turn movement is to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk and must, after making the turn, perform any lane changes legally.”
       Krauth added that, although he has not does not have the power to assign police traffic enforcement, he will “forward the complaint” from Echevarria to the Police Department, requesting “that they 'put it on their route.'”

Westside Pioneer article