Changes to lanes on Johnson Avenue in SLO are approved

The San Luis Obispo City Council unanimously approved changes to the lane configuration on Johnson Avenue near the Union Pacific Railroad bridge Tuesday night.

The change will relocate the street’s lane reduction from west of the Union Pacific Railroad bridge, between Pismo and Buchon streets, to the east side of the bridge at San Luis Drive.

More than 20 residents spoke at the council meeting Tuesday, the majority encouraging the plan.

The change was brought before the council for consideration a second time at the beckoning of former Mayor and city Public Works Director Dave Romero, who has heavily criticized the plan, saying it will lead to gridlock at peak travel times. His concerns garnered little support Tuesday by those attending the meeting.

As it is now, motorists traveling toward downtown on Johnson have the option of two lanes through the underpass, with the left lane acting as a “lane trap” that forces drivers to turn onto Pismo Street after the underpass.

The proposed plan will move the mandatory left-turn lane up to San Luis Drive and allow for only one lane of through traffic. In addition, a second left-turn lane will be added from San Luis Drive onto Johnson Avenue.

The work will likely begin within the next month.