The Planning Commission has approved a plan to bulldoze 20 homes, two businesses and a church to realign McFadden Avenue at Main Street, an area that suffers severe rush-hour congestion.
The commission approved the $6-million plan unanimously at its regular meeting this week. The City Council will consider the plan on April 18.
City staff proposed the plan to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety through the intersection. Without the realignment, increased traffic would create gridlock--with cars unable to move in any direction through the intersection--during peak hours by 2005, said project manager David Biondolillo.
"We're trying to push traffic to the arterials and keep it off the residential streets. We're getting pretty extreme congestion on those streets at the peak hours," he said.
The streets of most intersections are perpendicular, allowing cars to travel straight across an intersecting street. But the intersection of McFadden Avenue and Main Street is dog-legged.
To cross the intersection, cars traveling east or west along McFadden must turn onto Main Street for a short distance before turning back onto McFadden.
Under the proposed plan, a diagonal segment of road would be built to connect the two stretches of McFadden. That way, cars traveling along McFadden would be able to cross Main Street without interruption.
They could then continue along McFadden as it bends toward the southeast to connect with the current intersection of Orange Avenue and McFadden.
"I think the project is going to be a great benefit to the community. Without the project, we know that the (intersection) will be dysfunctional by the year 2005" because cars backing up at the left turn pockets on Main will choke off traffic in all directions, he said.
The city would have to acquire about 20 homes, two businesses and the Iglesia de Jesucristo Church at 307 E. McFadden Ave. for the project.
"I think (the project) is a good idea," said Robert Moreno, 32, who rents a home on Cypress Avenue.
However, he said, some of his neighbors "are very upset. They put a lot of money into their homes and the city just tells them to leave. My neighbor just put a new roof on his house."
Javier Carrasco, 24, who owns his home on Cypress, said he opposed the project but could accept it if the city offers appropriate compensation for moving.
"If they're going to do it, they should give you a reasonable price" and help move displaced residents to comparable homes, he said.
If the City Council approves it, the project would take about three years to complete.