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Grand Avenue's Deadly Reputation Not Going Unnoticed By Supervisor

Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries lives in Lakeland Village—where Grand Avenue has claimed several lives in recent months.

Story updated at 4:13 p.m. to include comment from the California Highway Patrol.

Some residents living along Grand Avenue say the roadway has become too dangerous and too many lives are being lost.

Over the last 12 months, Patch has reported six fatalities on the busy stretch that runs through Wildomar, Lakeland Village and Lake Elsinore.

The death toll includes a tragic collision Thursday in which a woman was killed by a motorist as she attempted to capture her horse that had escaped his nearby corral.

The deaths were all attributed to crashes of one kind or another – and high speed.

And with the exception of one, all the deaths occurred on the Lakeland Village portion of the roadway.

California Highway Patrol Officer Nathan Baer said his agency has added patrols to Grand Avenue.

"We are giving it extra attention," he said. "We're out there every day issuing citations. A lot of this is about mindset -- people need to understand they are not the only one on the road."

Some residents want to see more done. (Click here to read commenters express their opinions.)

Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries lives in Lakeland Village and represents residents there, as well as those in Lake Elsinore and Wildomar. but as a longtime resident he said he too wants to see conditions improve along Grand Avenue.

“We’re seeing a whole new level of serious and tragic accidents on Grand Avenue,” he said following yesterday’s deadly collision.

The supervisor said that 20 years ago while serving as a volunteer firefighter for the county, he saw a spike in rear-end crashes on Grand Avenue and successfully worked to see a center turn lane added on the roadway through Lakeland Village. The project was largely funded through grant monies, Jeffries said.

Now he would like to see right-hand turn lanes incorporated on Grand, and he’s pushing to find the funding, he said, noting that his office sat down with county transportation director Juan Perez on Feb. 13 to discuss options.

“It’s not enough, we recognize that, but it’s a start,” he said.

Jeffries said his team is also working to identify funding for sidewalks along Grand through programs like Safe Routes to School.

As for the high speeds on Grand Avenue, he said his team is looking into how many California Highway Patrol hours are currently being dedicated to the unincorporated area.

Lighting along Grand Avenue through Lakeland Village is sparse, and some residents say the nighttime darkness is dangerous. The county can fund installation of streetlights, but the costs to cover ongoing service would need to be funded through a special tax assessment imposed on local residents, Jeffries said.

“That’s not popular right now,” he maintained, noting that it’s up to the community to decide if they are willing to pay more for added services.

Lakeland Village was considered redevelopment area, but that designation means little now that money to improve so-called blighted areas was stripped from local jurisdictions by the state in 2011.

“The money to improve safety has been wiped out,” Jeffries said.

In the meantime, the supervisor contends he has a real connection to the issues on Grand Avenue: "I live there."

So Cal White Boy February 16, 2013 at 02:43 PM
The center turn lane is not a passing lane. IT NEEDS TO STOP!
Anna February 16, 2013 at 09:12 PM
The problem is that Most people on Grand ave (Residents & Non-Residents) think THEY own Grand Ave........They believe their Rights are to Pass in the center lane, touch Front bumber to Rear bumber , Even pass on the right side and the Totally Run throught the Stop signs/ Stop lights!!!! it's all kinds of people in all kinds of car...to include well put together people in nice new cars. All this with no regard to surrounding people (&kids too), Housing, and Businesses. Please excuse my grammering, punctuations and etc.....I'm not an English Major. Just wanted to express myself.
victor peiffer February 17, 2013 at 06:31 AM
I live on Grand Avenue, between Central and Corydon. My advice for anyone using this street is : 1. Drive defensively (watch out for the crazy driver) 2. Drive within the speed limit and be PATIENT with the person in front of you! Same old advice. But, you know what?, it works.
jubjubLoves February 17, 2013 at 07:02 AM
grand ave is not ortega hwy and people drive it like it is, they drive it all horribly anyway. go the speed limit. you will loose maybe 5 min. so leave 10 min early. save a life! ensure yours.
arne olsen April 02, 2013 at 06:37 PM
The cops drive 80-90 MPH on weekend nighs doing a "Hot lap" from butterfield school to jack in the box, no emergency lights, just punks driving to fast for fun, almost hit me 4 times crossing the street at the 74, WTF, we pay for this?

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