Our Summer 2022 newsletter gave an overview of Fisher Park traffic issues and a brief history of Fisher Park Neighborhood Association’s efforts to make improvements. Here’s a brief recap:
Two years ago, a Fisher Park resident on Flower Street asked for the Association’s help with a request to the City of Santa Ana for additional trees on Flower Street. She also asked for help to make our section of Flower Street safer because motorists tended to speed in this area 24/7. The City representative she spoke with indicated there was sufficient room for landscaped medians similar to those on Flower Street in Floral Park. The intent was to help calm traffic by making this part of Flower look and feel more like a residential street than a commercial street. Hopefully motorists would slow down. The Association agreed to help.
A neighborhood meeting was held on May 25, 2022 with Santa Ana Public Works at the Jack Fisher Park cabin to see what options we might have. We weren’t as clear as we could have been with the meeting’s agenda and it kind of went off the rails. But, one positive result was that Public Works and our Councilperson Jessie Lopez also at the meeting learned Fisher Park residents were definitely passionate about traffic issues. We also learned more about traffic issues affecting other parts of our own neighborhood.
In our Summer 2022 newsletter, we indicated that our next steps would be 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 neighborhood from one side to the other.
- Create a Fisher Park Traffic Committee to review issues, ideas and options for improving traffic safety that would be discussed with the Santa Ana Public Works Agency.
Over the past year, we accomplished a few things but there’s still more to do. Here’s where we are:
We organized a Traffic Committee with members from all parts of Fisher Park:
- Heather Lenz (W Sharon Road)
- Kyle Kingston (W Jonquil Road)
- Chris Clearly (W Sharon Road)
- Brent Brandon (N Flower Street)
- Rick Russell (N Baker Street)
- Phil Christopherson (W Jonquil Road)
- Justin Tolentino (W Memory Lane)
- Les Hall (W River Lane)
Committee members learned a lot about traffic issues in the neighborhood, and Santa Ana Public Works was extremely helpful with this process. They conducted and shared traffic studies in the neighborhood and also drafted preliminary conceptual designs for landscaped medians on Flower Street. Committee members were testing positive for Covid and had the flu and/or colds and we were all trying to avoid catching or spreading viruses during the 2022 holiday season. Because of this and also due to scheduling issues, the Traffic Committee met in many separate meetings and shared information and gave input mostly through emails. The Traffic Committee agreed on some things but definitely not on everything.
Here are the recommendations made to Santa Ana Public Works:
- Plant Crepe Myrtle trees along Flower Street between Memory Lane and the Santiago Creek Bridge. Existing queen palms would remain and additional street trees would be planted only where Flower Street residents want them. City reps have indicated this would get done but given no timeframe.
- Install Landscaped Medians on Flower Street between Memory Lane and the Santiago Creek Bridge. Public Works drafted Preliminary Concept Designs but needed input from residents living on Flower Street. Most Flower Street residents were excited about and approved the plans, but a few residents living near Memory Lane were concerned about entering or exiting driveways. To accommodate these concerns, Public Works has offered to redraft plans to locate medians towards the center and southern portions of this area. There’s a grant in process to augment funding already approved by the City, and Public Works expects to hear more details by May or June. But even without grand funding, the City has allocated street calming funds for this project. Our Councilperson Jessie Lopez has been instrumental in supporting and lobbying for this funding.
- Shorten the crosswalk to Jack Fisher Park with bump outs on each side of Flower Street. Also slightly raise its elevation to make it more noticeable to speeding motorists. Public Works is waiting until May or June to confirm grant approvals before deciding how to proceed.
- Install 25 MPH signs where appropriate north of the Santiago Creek Bridge. The only 25 MPH signs on Flower are south of the bridge. Public Works is still reviewing.
- Retain the No Right Turn 6 – 9 am sign at Memory Lane / Flower Street Intersection. This issue divided the Traffic Committee, but in the end a recommendation was made based on two main things:
- Public Works has been using the sign for 40 years as a major part of ongoing efforts to reduce morning commuter traffic on residential streets in Morrison Park, Fisher Park, Floral Park and West Floral Park. They advised that removing the sign would reverse the progress that’s been made, and also advised that increased morning commuter traffic would result in cars still taking shortcuts on Sharon Road to avoid bottlenecks.
- All four neighborhoods would need to approve removal of the sign. None have done so and there’s little possibility of that actually happening. However, the Traffic Committee did suggest several mitigation strategies to at least improve the situation:
- Widen Bristol Street to 3 lanes in each direction between 17th Street and Santiago Creek. This remains part of Santa Ana’s overall traffic plan but they’re still waiting for more funding. Previous Bristol Street improvements came mainly from OCTA funding which remains a possibility.
- Adjust Traffic Signals at the Bristol Street / Memory Lane Intersection during morning rush hours to encourage more commuters to use Bristol Street. Public Works has the ability to do this and they are still considering options.
- Prohibit left turns onto W Park Lane from Bristol Street going south during morning rush hours. Public Works is still considering this as well as a No U Turn sign because of multiple accidents at this intersection.
- Install Left Turn Arrow going south on Bristol Street to turn left on Santa Clara. This would help reduce morning traffic caused by parents taking kids to Santiago Elementary School by allowing easier and safer access from Bristol Street. It would also make the intersection safer for everyone. Fatal accidents have happened there. West Floral Park and Riverview also supported this proposal. Public Works has decided to start this project ASAP with Left Turn Arrows in all directions. The only delay is a 7 month backlog on delivery of new light poles, so estimated project completion is still 8 or 9 months away.
We continue to have discussions with Public Works and City representatives to ensure we make progress on traffic and other issues.