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.”