YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Orange County Focus

IRVINE : Deerfield Avenue May Be Spruced Up

May 05, 1994|SHELBY GRAD

For a city that takes pride in meticulous urban planning, Deerfield Avenue is something of an embarrassment.

The street carries about 3,000 cars a day through a sharp 90-degree turn that some residents have likened to an amusement park ride.

Irvine city officials agree that the road presents problems, and they've spent the last few years adding stop signs, erecting a traffic island and installing yellow traffic cones in an effort to make the turn more manageable.

The city's efforts have not impressed some residents, who last month unsuccessfully sought to have the road closed--at least for a trial period.

"The street isn't getting better, it's getting worse," said Elizabeth Mead, one of several Deerfield Avenue residents who worries that a speeding car or truck might lose control on the curve and crash into a house. "Something more has to be done."

City Council members have expressed sympathy for the residents and their concerns. But they are unwilling to close the major east-west route, especially as construction continues on nearby Culver Drive.

Instead, the city may eventually spend more than $100,000 to beautify the existing traffic island.

Deerfield Avenue is not the only street in Irvine with a 90-degree turn. But most other streets with sharp curves are found in cul-de-sacs and are not used by commuter traffic, residents say. Deerfield, in contrast, connects two major roads: Harvard Avenue and Culver Drive.

Arya Rohani, the city's manager of transportation services, said the street's odd shape results from its being built in two segments. The two sections were connected as housing tracts sprouted around them.

Though Deerfield carries about 3,000 cars a day, Rohani said the road is far from what officials would consider "at capacity."

But that does little to comfort jittery residents, who say the sharp turn frequently causes drivers to slam on their brakes and hit the traffic median. They noted one case several years ago when a driver lost control around the turn, sending the car through a driveway and into a back yard.

The residents have also criticized the way the city has dealt with the problem. In addition to installing the median and stop signs, workers have posted large yellow signs warning drivers of the sharp turn and placed bright orange posts and reflectors in the area.

"That neon yellow is such an eyesore," said Mead, echoing the feelings of other residents. "We have to paint our homes a certain color or be cited by the homeowners association. Then we have this on the street. It's a real blight on the neighborhood."

Council members say the city may remove a few of the signs. They may consider improving the look of the center traffic median, replacing some of the orange cones with landscaping and flowers.

Los Angeles Times Articles