An item was submitted to the Traffic Advisory Committee meeting in June to investigate solutions for improving the safety of the intersection of California Avenue and Carmel Avenue. This intersection was identified as one of the locations for safety improvements in the “Seaside & Marina Safe Walking & Biking to School” report conducted by TAMC. Also, it has a high traffic volume due to using California Avenue as a bypass for vehicles passing Marina toward the Monterey and due to the high volume of pedestrians mostly walking to two schools at the east and west side of the intersection on Carmel Avenue.
The City staff reviewed the intersection and implemented the following measures to improve safety:
• Reviewing and installing new school-related signs for two adjacent school zones
• Reviewing and maintaining existing school-related signs for two adjacent school zones
• Designing and installing a bulb-out project at the intersection
• Installing pavement legends to warn the drivers entering the school zones
A Bulb-out (also known as curb extension) is a traffic-calming solution that modifies the street geometry by extending the corner (curb or sidewalk) toward the center of the street. This solution narrows down the street at the intersections without encroaching into the traffic lane, and can psychologically cause drivers to reduce their speed and improve the safety of the pedestrians crossing the intersection. Also, it’s a common method in residential areas and school zones due to the high pedestrian volume.
The purposes of the bulb-out method are to:
1. Reduce the speed of vehicles and improve the traffic safety
2. Increase the visibility of pedestrians for drivers
3. Reduce the length of crosswalks and reduce pedestrian exposure to traffic
4. Provide space for ADA-compliant access