Editor, The Record:
A couple of days this past week, I sat at the Sweet Shop Café on First Avenue (good eats, by the way), all the while gazing out the window listening to the drone voice of a fellow writer across the table from me preaching about religion and politics.
My mind slipped away, gazing out the window watching the trucks pass by. I saw a tandem dump truck, a logging truck, another tandem dump truck, a tractor trailer carrying large steel pipes, but then the trucks’ speed caught my attention as they were passing by at about three-minute intervals or less.
They sure couldn’t stop on a dime if a youngster darted out between a couple of parked cars. Thinking back 20 years when we first moved to Mission, traffic was lighter, the population less, and yet there was a better variety of stores and venues.
It seemed the volume of traffic on the highway and the street was much more aware of each other. The speed was not there and the pedestrians looked both ways before crossing, even the ones that crossed in the middle of the street.
If I were a big rig truck driver, I would dread the thought of those three blocks on First Avenue and want to get through that section as quickly as I could. Vehicles trying to turn onto First from a side street is a daunting task and very difficult due to obstructions of parked cars and being on a hillside, let alone pedestrian crosswalks on every corner. Cars pull out without even seeing you and the pedestrians who don’t even look crossing the street now will cross anywhere.
No wonder the downtown association is having their problems trying to bring the street back to life like it was in the past. You’ve got to get rid of the big trucks on First or slow them down, make it easier to turn onto First from the side streets, and control pedestrian crossings before there is a major accident.
Suggestions of a new bypass around downtown seem to be out of the question for council, and the big rig drivers travelling west who try to turn to go over the bridge to the existing bypass experience a nightmare. So what is the answer? Stoplights? Speed bumps? What is it going to take?
The money spent on those ridiculous bicycle lanes markings could have gone a long ways in rectifying the First Avenue problem.