SANTA ANA : Access Limits Subject of Residents' Poll

A controversial plan to restrict traffic through an area of northwest Santa Ana and deter commuters from using narrow residential streets as shortcuts during the "Orange Crush" freeway renovation will face a crucial test of community support during the next 10 days.

Starting Friday, the city will send advisory ballots to about 3,500 households to determine whether the City Council should adopt some or all of a resident group's plan to restrict vehicle access to its neighborhood. City staff will count the ballots Jan. 13 and prepare a report for the council.

The Floral Park Traffic Committee members have said at City Council meetings and at a recent public hearing that the plan is necessary to counter commuter traffic that has spilled onto its narrow residential streets.

The additional traffic poses a danger to residents, especially children, committee members said. Santa Clara Avenue has seen an additional 2,000 vehicles a day since construction on the nearby Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Orange freeways interchange began.

The plan calls for the implementation of traffic barriers at most of the entrances to the neighborhood bounded by Bristol Street to the west, 17th Street to the south, Broadway to the east and Memory and Sherwood lanes as well as the Santa Ana Freeway to the north.

However, Suszan Ales, who lives outside the group's boundaries, opposes the plan because it ignores people who live west of Bristol Street. She said the plan "promotes a walled community" benefiting only a portion of the area's residents, while shunting the traffic to surrounding areas. It would also result in longer trips to local hospitals and to the MainPlace/Santa Ana mall.

The ballot separates the committee's proposal into about 18 points, from reducing the speed limit on certain streets to the installation of traffic barriers and right-turn-only signs at specific intersections, said Norm Canchola, the city's neighborhood improvement coordinator.

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