Our view: Who stops where?
Everyone in Truckee knows about the dreaded railroad crossing intersection downtown. We all know that traffic doesn’t stop coming north over the tracks.
We also all know that a day doesn’t go by when traffic doesn’t get snarled at that intersection because a visitor thinks there is a stop sign there and slams on their brakes, nearly causing traffic behind them to run into them, or a visitor at one of the other stop signs doesn’t realize traffic coming over the tracks doesn’t stop, and so starts into the intersection and is nearly run over.
The signage at this intersection is woefully inadequate. The only two signs indicating the peculiar nature of the intersection are on the Donner Pass Road west- and eastbound stop signs, and they’re hardly noticeable unless you’re looking for them. There is no signage at all for drivers coming north over the tracks, or for drivers sitting at the intersection of Bridge Street and Donner Pass Road.
Larger, prominent signs should be posted at all four points of the intersection. Ideally, a sign with a blinking light hanging over the intersection and visible from all four directions would be best.
The problem is, these solutions wouldn’t be real attractive for our historic downtown. Blinking lights and large signs probably don’t go with the quaint image our downtown tries to foster. And putting a stop sign for traffic coming over the tracks northbound is impractical because of the railroad.
But the question is, which comes first – safety or appearances?
There haven’t been any major accidents recently at this downtown intersection, but most people in town have had a close call or two there. The bypass under construction won’t make this problem go away, as tourists will still want to drive downtown.
The Town needs to consider that visitors aren’t familiar with the intersection, and how to make it clearer. It’s not an easy problem to fix, but what we have now just isn’t working.
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