SaddleBrooke cares about safety and near misses

Andrea Molberg

Have you ever been passed on the left by someone going over the speed limit while you were turning left into your driveway? Walked on the street by your house and had to jump the curb to avoid being hit? Residents on Catalina Hills Drive have, so SaddleBrooke TWO has been listening. Because SaddleBrooke cares about safety, solutions are being sought to reduce speed and keep drivers in their lane.

Residents met with SaddleBrooke TWO administration and brought their safety concerns about frequent almost accidents to the SaddleBrooke TWO Board. With driveways and pedestrians over 55, the part of Catalina Hills Drive inside SaddleBrooke is a unique, highly trafficked, hilly, curvy, narrow neighborhood stretch of road without sidewalks, line of sight or room for contractors to park. These troublesome few blocks are actually within our community at the north entrance where people come in from the desert. Not only do residents travel this residential street to get home, buyers take it to SaddleBrooke models and lots, and it’s the way the public drives to eat or play golf at the Preserve.

A committee of concerned residents emphasized how close Hank Greenleaf in his car, Walt Shields on foot, and the St. Germaines in their cart came to seriously being hurt. While some may be unfamiliar, many other neighbors reported witnessing near head-ons and joined the brainstorming to reduce danger. All options are being explored to encourage contractors, residents, employees, home buyers, restaurant diners, and visiting golfers to slow down and proceed with extra caution before crossing the center line in their attempt to give pedestrians or parked cars a wide berth.

In response, the Board created a “safety corridor” with higher fines and tested electronic signs displaying speeds. The presence of the signs, even not lighted, slowed traffic, so installing them permanently is being considered.

A single-striped center line with reflectors was painted on the Desert Sun curve to guide vehicles to stay in their lane and is being discussed for Catalina Hills Drive as an attractive, subtle way to indicate “Extra care is needed here.” Perhaps reflectors alone would help keep drivers in their lane, because they would be felt. Double yellow lines like the ones on Ridgeview make crossing the center line illegal but are not possible for this area, and until recently residents (including me) opposed any striping. Now with more fellow speeding residents and construction trucks that can’t stop quickly plus 25 mph cones repeatedly being hit, many in the neighborhood have changed their minds.

Admittedly it has taken pressure to get the cones replaced, because the Board and administration’s initial response was, “But they keep getting hit,” and the answer to the request for a three-way stop at Peregrine was, “People will run the stop sign.” They are not saying SaddleBrooke doesn’t need cones, stripes, stop signs, or electronic signs. My understanding is that failure to take sufficient action when there is known danger constitutes “negligence.”

Success probably requires a multi-pronged approach including more speeding tickets in this corridor. Some suggestions are cheaper, less onerous, easier to implement, and no doubt less costly than moving the “taco shack,” another way to warn drivers they are entering a neighborhood.

For home values and to appeal to buyers, the goal is to find an attractive, effective way to deter speeding and center line crossing, because everyone benefits by reducing the likelihood of accidents that damage a community’s reputation and our homeowner association’s liability. Speeding is extremely dangerous for drivers as well as pedestrians, just looking online at the consequences of speeding in Richmond VA will show you what could happen there, you can do the same for other areas of the country too, it is best to make sure you know them so you know what could happen to you if you are caught speeding.

Our community works together, so if you have suggestions pass them on.