YORBA LINDA : Traffic Barrier Set for Brooklyn Ave.

A compromise plan to close one end of Brooklyn Avenue was approved this week by the City Council.

In an effort to appease residents near the busy street, the council Tuesday approved a plan to erect a temporary barricade on Brooklyn Avenue and instructed the city engineer to resume a traffic study of all the surrounding streets.

The compromise came after three hours of testimony from more than three dozen residents who are divided over the plan to close Brooklyn Avenue at 4th Street.

Nearly all those living on Brooklyn Avenue support a Traffic Commission recommendation to install a barricade on their street. The residents say motorists use the street to avoid traffic on nearby Imperial Highway.

A study conducted by the city two years ago supports that claim.

But others in the neighborhood say the barrier will divert traffic onto their streets. They said the study looked only at Brooklyn Avenue and not the entire neighborhood.

"I implore you to consider the safety of the entire neighborhood, not just one street," said Ron Henry, who lives two streets north of Brooklyn on Chicago Avenue.

Mayor John M. Gullixson agreed that the council should have information on traffic in the entire neighborhood before making a permanent decision.

"We are struggling for a remedy for the entire neighborhood, (but) we don't have all the facts," Gullixson said.

In August, the council stopped a study of the impact that closing Brooklyn would have on Walnut and Chestnut streets and Wabash and Chicago avenues, and asked the Traffic Commission to make a recommendation regarding the closure.

Last month, after the commission unanimously voted in favor of the closure, the council passed a resolution declaring its intent to close Brooklyn, which required the public hearing.

Henry and others contend that if the city closes Brooklyn Avenue, traffic will simply move onto other streets in their neighborhood. They expressed concern that the closure would make it difficult for emergency vehicles to get into their neighborhood.

Battalion Chief Chuck Nicola of the Orange County Fire Department, which serves Yorba Linda, said in a memo to the city that closing Brooklyn would "seriously impede the ability of the Fire Department to respond to fire and medical emergencies (and would) hamper the ability of paramedic and ambulance units to get to medical calls and delay their (arrival) to the nearest hospital."

By closing Brooklyn Avenue, the city hopes to dissuade motorists from using the street as a shortcut from Valley View Avenue to Prospect Avenue. Other alternatives considered by the council included installing additional stop signs on Brooklyn, installing speed bumps on the street and increasing enforcement of the speed limit.

But City Engineer Roy Stephenson said those devices will not discourage cut-through traffic from using Brooklyn instead of Imperial Highway.

"If we are going to effectively deal with cut-through traffic, we are going to have to physically stop it," he said.

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