Laguna traffic plan on the table

A new plan to reduce traffic congestion and improve access to the Laguna Village Shopping Center will be considered tonight by the San Luis Obispo City Council.

Owners of the businesses located in the center previously requested that a stoplight be installed on Madonna Road, just east of Los Osos Valley Road.

In September the council delayed making a decision on the stoplight, but approved a plan to improve access at the shopping center by widening access driveways on both Los Osos Valley and Madonna roads.

City staff is recommending that the council take a phased approach to improvements to determine if additional work is needed – including the possibility of a “partial” traffic signal that would control traffic in and out of the shopping center but not interrupt northbound traffic on Madonna Road.

Immediate improvements to be made include widening the shopping center’s driveways, removing some sycamore trees on Madonna Road to increase visibility of drivers turning right out of the shopping center, and changing the traffic channeling on westbound Madonna Road to prevent traffic from backing up in front of the shopping center.

If those improvements do not help traffic flow, the partial traffic signal will be considered one year from now, staff said.

The city restricted left turns from Madonna Road into the center in 2007 in response to a high rate of broadside and pedestrian accidents. The move irritated business owners, who say it has hurt their businesses.