Prior to the May 25, 2022 special meeting hosted by the neighborhood association with Santa Ana Public Works Agency, most Fisher Park Neighborhood residents weren’t aware of all of the neighborhood traffic issues that exist, as well as the status of ongoing efforts to improve them. The City of Santa Ana also apparently wasn’t aware of the extent of our neighborhood’s frustration with traffic problems that have existed for a long time but didn’t seem to be moving towards any improvement.
Hopefully this article will help explain some background and jump-start the process of trying to make things better.
For many years as freeways, freeway exits, downtown Santa Ana and traffic in general have grown and changed, traffic flow through North Santa Ana and the general Floral Park area has been an increasing problem. There were times the City just didn’t pay attention until residents complained. The City of Santa Ana also made attempts to improve the situation, sometimes more successful than others, and other times the “improvements” helped some parts of the community at the expense of others. Traffic apps like Waze and commuters just finding shortcuts compounded the problem.
Members of the Fisher Park Neighborhood Association board and others have informed the City of various traffic issues for a while, but probably not in a sufficiently comprehensive manner to make much progress. The last couple years and everyone dealing with COVID-19 hasn’t made anything easier. Then something happened early last year that helped focus our attention on what neighborhood associations can actually do.
At the end of the neighborhood association’s Spring 2021 General Meeting, one of our Fisher Park neighbors living on Flower Street, Carol Cossaboom, asked for help. She had been speaking with some of her neighbors on Flower Street, and there was a consensus that planting more street trees on Flower Street would help beautify the neighborhood, and also more importantly give the street a more residential character. Because its appearance seems more like a commercial boulevard than a residential street, drivers seem to react by speeding and Flower Street in that area had basically turned into a speedway. The City representative she spoke with said the request would be given more weight if the neighborhood association would support it, and the entire Fisher Park NA board immediately agreed.
Turns out the City representative also told Carol that Flower Street between Memory Lane and the Santiago Creek Bridge was wide enough to incorporate landscaped medians similar to those on Flower Street in Floral Park and on Memory Lane in Morrison Park. Carol collected signatures from her neighbors for a petition for street trees, and the Fisher Park NA submitted the petition to the City along with a request for landscaped medians on Fisher Park’s portion of Flower Street to be investigated and considered. And – hopefully at some point approved and added as an actual Santa Ana Public Works Agency project. The main goal is to make that part of Flower Street safer by ensuring drivers clearly feel and understand they’re in a residential neighborhood and are encouraged to slow down, and also to improve the entire neighborhood by replacing portions of an unnecessarily wide concrete street with environmentally responsible landscaping and additional green space.
But of course not that much happened. City bureaucracy can be slow and complicated. And there are more requests for things to do than the City has funds to accomplish.
We continued to speak with and meet with City staff, and our City Councilperson Jessie Lopez assisted in coordinating a meeting with Mayor Sarmiento and Public Works. Morrison Park and Floral Park also have project requests and ongoing discussions with City staff to improve traffic flow through their neighborhoods. To some extent, each neighborhood has similar goals and wants similar things, but there are also some differences in opinion as to priorities for limited funds that are available. To ensure Fisher Park’s concerns were more fully understood, we also presented our case to the entire City Council earlier this year.
The May 25, 2022 meeting with the Santa Ana Public Works Agency was only one step to get City help in making Fisher Park’s streets safer. The meeting was a bit of a wild ride but overall effective in helping City staff and our elected representatives understand our needs and how passionate we are for tangible positive action to move forward on several issues.
Members of Fisher Park NA Board will continue discussions with Public Works and our elected representatives to:
- Find ways to improve the safety and appearance of Fisher Park’s portion of Flower Street by giving it the look and feel of a residential street consistent with the neighborhood, and less like a commercial thoroughfare.
- Minimize commuter traffic, primarily during morning rush hours, taking shortcuts through Fisher Park on Sharon Road.
- Reduce the overall volume and speed of traffic, primarily commuter traffic, just passing through our neighborhoods from one side to the other.
Create a Fisher Park Traffic Committee to review issues, ideas and options for improving traffic safety that will be discussed with the Santa Ana Public Works Agency.
- One of the committee members is a Fisher Park NA board member, and one member lives on Flower Street. In order to get more diverse input and participation from stakeholders, we especially need at least one member from Sharon Road, preferably between Baker and Flower. (Please contact Les Hall at [email protected]).
As an additional but related issue, Fisher Park NA is in the process of updating its Bylaws, including our Mission Statement. We’re still fine tuning the language, but part of the current draft of our Mission Statement reads: “be a voice for (neighborhood) members involving local and community issues with the City of Santa Ana and regional government.” Right now we’re discussing Fisher Park traffic issues, but resolving any neighborhood issue can be accomplished easier and be more effective when worked on together. Fisher Park NA is here to help solve problems and make Fisher Park a better place to live. Please participate and contact us with your issues, ideas and/or questions.