I got good news this week, and so did everybody else who drives in Paso Robles. Our City Council voted Tuesday to award a contract for “refreshing” the striping on some streets.
I wrote last year about the accident I nearly had one dark night because of the over-age, faded, obliterated street markings. In case you missed it, here’s the Reader’s Digest version:I turned left onto the Niblick Road bridge where the lane lines are especially indistinct and confusing. I blundered into the oncoming center lane and saw headlights heading toward me. I managed to swerve into the proper lane with no harm done.
Another driver suspected I was drunk, followed me home and notified the police. The officer who came to my door accepted my explanation. He had probably noticed the obliterated lane lines himself.
Visitors to Paso Robles may notice several symptoms of municipal deterioration. City officials say the recession caused city revenues to decline steeply. Street maintenance is one of the functions that have suffered. The city doesn’t have the money for it.
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Then, last fall, the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments awarded Paso Robles a grant of state funds totaling $168,000. The council decided to spend it all on redoing as much street striping as possible. The city advertised for bids for doing 12 street segments and 30 “STOP” markings.
Two contractors bid. Each was too high. So, the City Council decided to have the low bidder, Toste Construction, of Grover Beach, do the six highest-priority segments. That amounts to about 10 miles of striping for $165,000 with about $3,500 left for possible contingencies.
Ditas Esperanza is the city’s capital projects engineer. She told me the grant from SLOCOG was an unexpected windfall. She also said the striping work will be done this summer, while school is out.
One segment the contractor will restripe includes the Niblick Road bridge where I scared myself last year and at least one other driver. After the contractor refreshes that striping, we should all feel safer while navigating the intersection of Niblick Road and Spring Street, especially at night.
As I write this column, I remember a comment a man wrote last year after he read my first column about my close call. He seemed contemptuous of older drivers.
Well, I bet more accidents are caused by drivers using cellphones or texting. And the popular wisdom is that older drivers don’t do either, even when not driving.
Reach Phil Dirkx at firstname.lastname@example.org or 238-2372.