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Wildomar Motorists Caught Off Guard By New Signs

Fender benders and moving violations are being blamed on new "Stop" signs at Baxter Road.

Stop signs that suddenly popped up on Baxter Road, west of the 15 Freeway, are the doing of Caltrans, and the way in which they were installed has a least one local resident and the Wildomar City Manager heated.

“I personally drove the street to witness the stop signs and realized Caltrans did about as poor of a job as I’ve ever seen in executing this minor project,” said Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo. “Even worse, we had some reported fender benders and Caltrans’ solution was to have an employee tell the City, ‘additional signage was not on his work order but residents can call the Caltrans claim number, 909.383.4351.’ Rather than take some ownership of the project, he shoved it off to another division.”

Oviedo took heat from the community over the suddenness of the signs, and one local resident was even inspired to criticize the signs in a blog.

“Shame on the City of Wildomar for allowing a new ‘Stop’ sign to be placed on the west side of the I-15 on Baxter Road without any notice. I saw it, but I also saw dozens of others blast right through without stopping,” wrote Jon Laskin in his Aug. 27 blog. “Installing a ‘Stop’ sign without flashing lights to make drivers aware of the change of rules of the road is just irresponsible. This is an accident just waiting to happen."

Oviedo concedes the city asked Caltrans to review whether stop signs would be warranted at the Baxter location to handle the additional traffic in the area caused by

“The situation had received more attention as traffic volumes increased for those using the Baxter exit as an alternative …,” Oviedo explained.

But the city manager said the location is in Caltrans’ jurisdiction, so traffic control there is overseen by the state agency.

Caltrans determined stop signs were warranted and provided its own schedule to the city as to when the signage would be installed: a Sunday, over a several-hour period, Oviedo said.

Two different Caltrans crews performed the work: The first crew put in the “Stop Ahead” sign and the “Stop” sign, followed by a second crew that, after a delayed period of time, stenciled the “Stop” line and “Stop” wording in the roadway to warn drivers, Oviedo said.

The delay in painting the roadway was problematic, and it was further complicated by the fact that the work was performed as Cornerstone Community Church service was ending, Oviedo said.

“[Caltrans] clearly didn’t take time to understand the local conditions,” Oviedo said. “In the end, the planning and execution of the installation was very bad. It is not how the City would have approached this installation.”

BAJ August 28, 2012 at 05:33 PM
It doesn't sound like CAL TRANS was compliant with the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices). All states by law must conform to those federal standards, and that includes installation of stop signs. The problem with the Baxter stop signs seems to be that they came as a surprise to motorists and not enough warning to allow them to react in time. A real sloppy job. In cases like this, accidents are inevitable. It would be a good idea for Wildomar city fathers to ask CALTRANS for a copy of the engineering study that was done in regard to the installation of the signs. MUTCD requires such studies.
liz August 28, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I agree kimberly....stop signs and lights every 500 feet....I moved here to get away from the city and slowly its getting crowded and busy. Keep building Wildomar, you will chase us away and get your 'City'.
Lepimpster August 28, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I just drove by it yesterday and was asking myself hmm that's weird I always had to wait for the cars to go by before I could proceed. And now they have to stop. Definately had me alittle confused as it didn't even look new
monica smith August 28, 2012 at 06:10 PM
That was a dumb spot if anything it will.make more traffic the other side is what needed a stop sign .... coming off the off ramp coming north on the 15 is always backed up not only will u still have to wait forever to turn left off the freeway now u have to wait all over again at the new stop sign!!!!!
Diana August 28, 2012 at 06:35 PM
You can't be serious, what was Cal Trans to do before installation, send out letters to everyone that might use this road? When they installed the crosswalk on Grand & Blackwell there wasn't any notification it was just there one day. Aren't we as drivers accountable for our reactions to any and all changes to the road? Weather it be traffic lights, stop signs, cross walks, road construction or whatever?
jodi pesicka August 28, 2012 at 07:41 PM
@monica one will be installed on that side soon also.
Anthony August 28, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Stop trying to control and stiffle our freedom!
Jon Laskin August 28, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Reading this article, i realize that my attention should have been focused on Cal Trans, and NOT the City of Wildomar, who seems to share my feelings. Thank you Patch for correcting the information of who "did about as poor of a job as I’ve ever seen in executing this minor project,” said Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo.
BAJ August 28, 2012 at 09:49 PM
If Cal Trans was out of compliance with regulations on how and where they installed the stop signs, any drivers who were cited for running them have a good argument to take to traffic court. Here are guidelines from the Federal Highway Administration who publishes the traffic control regulations (MUTCD) with which the states must be compliant: "Road users must receive information in a form they can read, understand, and react to in a timely fashion. This information must reinforce common road user expectation, or if uncommon elements are present, emphatically communicate alternative information with sufficient time to react."
Diana August 28, 2012 at 09:53 PM
@BAJ, and this that you have just quoted is specific of stop sign installations?
Witch_Daughter August 28, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Just how many accidents will it take before some of you "approve" of these stop signs? I for one have lived in Wildomar for 30 years. I have seen several accidents at the North bound off and on ramps. The People that come down Baxter from Porras Rd. are going too fast and some are not paying attention. I am a retired school bus driver and have been trained to drive defensive. Most people are not defensive drivers. They blow across that bridge thinking the drivers are not going to pull out in front of them. Never trust the other driver. Some North off ramp drivers are so impatient that they will do desperate things to get out on Baxter like cut in front of oncoming traffic. These are the things that make the stop signs so needed. Have you ever sat on that off ramp when the church gets out? I like living in a rural area too but some things just need to change and these stop signs are necessary. Stop all the complaining and pay more attention and take responsibility.
Tina Tyra August 28, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I agree T! Those signs have been needed for a while. I work right there at Baxter and Monte Vista and it's very difficult to turn left into traffic on Baxter, as people are always exceeding the speed limits. There is an easy way to solve this problem. Post a police officer there for rush hours for a few days. People will slow down and observe the signs and get used to it. We are creatures of habit. Perhaps the planning wasn't the best, but the signs are welcome!
Tina Tyra August 28, 2012 at 10:11 PM
They are doing both sides, Natalie. Both sides are bad, so it is needed, but they couldn't do all the work in one day, so they are doing the other side later (perhaps today). I work on the East side and we needed those signs just to get off the freeway and turn left into oncoming traffic. Many exceed the speed limit, so you risk an accident just turning there.
Tina Tyra August 28, 2012 at 10:14 PM
No Monica, there won't be that wait because people will be able to take a turn and go instead of sitting there forever because there is cross traffic going to fast to pull out. That's the point. Watch it work.
Tina Tyra August 28, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Amen. Well said.
ron August 28, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Pay attention to the road not your phones, radios, make-up ect....... And you would have noticed them, even without painted lines or words. I live in this area and I would rather have the signs than accidents all the time that really screw the bridge up.
BAJ August 28, 2012 at 11:41 PM
It applies across the board to roads and intersections - their signs and their design. The science behind it all is called Human Factors Engineering.
Jem August 29, 2012 at 04:31 AM
To all the whiners in Wildomar, I ask, "What ever happened to individual responsibility? I live near David A, Brown Middle School. A few years ago new school zone signs were installed, replete with flashing lights in both directions. Everyday I see cars barrel through those lights, probably because the drivers are so accustomed to those flashing lights that they couldn't tell you what the signs say. If you drive on autopilot, not attentive to your surroundings, you should have your drivers license revoked. God forbid some other drivers should stop suddenly in front of you as you autopilot your your way to the mall, just the way you have for years. You rear-end the stopped car in front of you because you weren't "looking for one". Maybe every car exiting the 15 South at Winchester should be required have big flashing lights on top of their cars just to let you know, before you cause a chain reaction fender bender.
Jem August 29, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Thank you for talking about defensive driving, Every driver should take a Defensive Driving class. It might give you a discount on your car insurance as well.
Roadeo Driver August 29, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Can't believe some of what I'm hearing. It IS the drivers responsibility to pay attention to their surroundings. These excuses for the inattentive actions of drivers are absurd. I would suggest you make it a point to notice any and all road signs during your commute, regulatory, precautionary, even the services and points of interest signs. See how many you have missed that have been there for years. Speed limits have changed several times around the area and I don't think you will get out of a ticket telling the judge "There were no bells and whistles to warn me of this change so it can't be my fault". How understanding would you be if you are the victim in an accident and the drivers excuse is "I wasn't paying attention"?
Witch_Daughter August 29, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Well said Roadeo driver!
Ken Mayes August 29, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I have sat on the Baxter off-ramp when church gets out and watched driver after driver run the stop sign at Monte Vista and Baxter which is why there is a steady stream of traffic. I guess they must have God as their Co-Pilot.
Constant Comment August 29, 2012 at 05:05 PM
So Ken, thats how you amuse yourself on Sunday? }~)
Christi August 29, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Yes drivers have a responsabity to pay attention. But caltrans has a responsability to give drivers enough warning when coming up on new signs or traffic patterns. I never used Baxter because of the street angle, very hard to see in bothe directions. I took it today, just wish the sign on the north bound side
BAJ August 29, 2012 at 09:14 PM
The issue isn't about paying attention to your surroundings. Of course drivers are supposed to be diligent, but the best of intentions doesn't always help. The issue is there are limitations to human cognitive abilities to process information quickly and well, especially when confronted with situations that are not in synch with their expectation set, whether it's stop signs or some other bad/confusing traffic design (any psychologist can verify that). There are many legal cases that have been decided in favor of the defendant even though he or she has made the "error," even if it causes a fatality. Here is the title of one published report on the subject: "Court Admits Expert's Testimony on Stop Sign Placement in Concluding Texas DOT (Department of Transportation) Negligence Was a Proximate Cause of Fatal Crash."
Jon Laskin August 29, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Ironically, our daughter, as a 4th grader, proved in her science project almost no one (4 out of 300) stops at a stop sign. Monday, May 3rd, 2004 - 4th grade Donald Graham student Celeste Laskin's science project won a first place at her school, then a first at the district fair, and then on April 21 in San Bernardino, she won again, a 1st place gold medal at the RIMS Inland Science and Engineering Fair for her project on the "California Stop" - the act of slowing down, but not coming to a complete stop, at a stop sign. Celeste's projected begged the question, "Are men or are women more willing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign?" After spending 5 days, for a half an hour a day right after school at the same stop sign watching only drivers who were driving alone, Celeste said that she learned two things: "I learned that I was right, and that more women stopped than men, but I also found out that it really didn't matter who was driving because most people don't stop. I even saw a cop blast right through, no lights on or anything. I was really disappointed that so many people don't stop at stop signs." Out of over 300 cars that she watched, only four stopped when they were alone at the intersection, and she recognized them as teachers from her school. "The only time people stop is if there is someone else in the intersection," Laskin said. She also reflected that, "When I grow up, I'm gonna stop at stop signs."
Tina Tyra August 29, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Just drove by there a half hour ago and there was a bad accident. Someone blew the sign and broadsided another car.
"G" August 29, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Just got off at Baxter around 3:45 today, Thursday, same thing. Two cars exchanging information, also looked like a broadside.
T 22 August 30, 2012 at 12:32 AM
So, I'm guessing!!!! There were no accidents before the stop sign was in place? Curious, then why they put it there.
Tina Tyra August 30, 2012 at 02:25 AM
T22, there were some accidents, but motorists were having a difficult time exiting the freeway and traffic was backing up on the off ramps because it was hard to get into traffic. Lights would be ideal, but they always start with stop signs and progress to lights later. People are going way too fast over the bridge and not looking. The stop signs are necessary. I work at Baxter and Monte Vista and it's a constant problem. All of the other overpasses have lights or stop signs, so it was just a matter of time, but they were needed.


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