Frustrated by what they say is a dangerous traffic situation and by a city panel's unwillingness to heed their concerns, residents of North Hills are asking the City Council to place a stop sign at Stonebridge Drive and Berry Street.
The stretch of Berry Street between Northwood Avenue and Central Avenue is uninterrupted by stop signs or traffic lights, and residents say vehicles often travel at more than 50 m.p.h. Compounding the problem, they say, is the curve in Berry Street just north of where it meets Stonebridge Drive.
"It is a bad spot," said David Martin, who has lived in the neighborhood for 12 years and is secretary of the North Hills Homeowners Assn. board of directors. "I have to stop three times when turning from Stonebridge south onto Berry. Once at the line, to satisfy the law, then I have to pull out and stop at least two more times to see if there is any traffic coming down Berry."
Robert W. Wallace has lived in North Hills for two years. He has three children who ride their bikes in the neighborhood, and Wallace says he too wants the city to do something to slow traffic on Berry Street.
A representative of the homeowners group met last month with the city's traffic committee and a traffic consultant to discuss the community's concerns. According to Pat McCarron, director of maintainance services for Brea, the panel reviewed accident and ticket information for Berry Street and decided a stop sign was not warranted.
The committee also considered the number of vehicles using the street and the type of traffic maneuvers that are made there, McCarron said.
"Certain criteria need to be met before a stop sign can be put up, and the traffic engineer said that criteria wasn't met," McCarron added.
But Martin said the city has ignored the criteria in the past and put the signs where residents request them. And with 97 homes scheduled to be built at one end of Berry Street, Martin said he fears the problems on that street will get worse.
According to McCarron, the issue now rests with the City Council, which can override the recommendations of the city traffic committee and engineer.
Martin addressed council members earlier this month and told them "somebody is going to get hurt" if the request is denied.
"We can pack this hall with 200 people but I don't want to do that," Martin said. "I know the city will want to correct this situation. They sure don't want to wait until someone gets killed."