SPECIAL REPORT: Dangerous intersections in Salinas, Monterey

Dangerous intersections in Salinas Monterey

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. - Salinas and Monterey are taking steps to address major safety issues for both drivers and pedestrians.

Last November, KION did a piece on some of the dangerous intersections in both cities. Now we are getting an update.

During the last year, Salinas has seen six deadly pedestrian crashes and one fatal bicycle collision. More than half of them happened along North Main Street. 

"So as far as pedestrian, serious pedestrian crashes go, that's our most dangerous area," said Salinas Police Sgt. Gerry Ross. 

Boronda and Sanborn Roads continue to be trouble spots for drivers, but one road in particular is seeing the most crashes. 

"Natividad and Laurel had more crashes,” Ross said. “And second on that list is Laurel and Constitution, which is a block away. That is also a dangerous area and mainly that's the same thing, high speed cars driving fast, especially Laurel Extension."

One new worrisome roadway has surfaced. 

"The one that has recently jumped out at me has been Blanco Road,” Ross said. “We're not getting a lot of crashes there but we've had two fatal pedestrian crashes last year, Blanco and Riker and Blanco and Padre, in that area. So again, you've got pretty high speeds on a curvy road, but you know, it does kind of concern me as somewhere else we have to look at."

It’s where 44 year old Michele Lightcap was hit by a car and left for dead back in May. The woman accused of hitting her and fleeing was arrested in August.

Last year we told you about four dangerous intersections along Del Monte Avenue in Monterey. It’s the city’s transportation spine, carrying more than 44,000 cars a day. The city’s traffic engineer said there are several intersections where they want to improve flow and safety. 

"The intersection that we really want to fix is Del Monte and Sloat,” said Rich Deal, the Monterey Traffic Engineer. “And a lot of folks have driven into that intersection coming into Monterey, westbound trying to take a left and there's no left turn lane and with two 
opposing heavy traffic lanes, we have a lot of crashes there."

The preliminary engineering and environmental work will start within the next year, but it could be a good spot for a roundabout. 

Munras and Soledad is the city’s highest volume intersection. It’s a spot that Deal says it too challenging for an easy fix. 

"It has the southbound exit ramp and the northbound exit ramp as well as the 
southbound onramp, so a lot of ramps feeding it,” Deal said. “You have Del Monte Center right there, so there's an enormous number of turning movements going through the intersection, a lot of left turns, a lot of right turns and it's a very difficult intersection because it has a very long downhill stretch coming from the southbound exit ramp so the approach to the intersection is fast."

But upgrades for people with disabilities are coming. Deal credits voter approved sales tax hikes for helping to improve the roads.

Back in Salinas, an assessment from enforcement and engineering experts will offer recommendations to improve road safety. That report is due at any time. 

"We're doing what we can, trying to make these streets safer,” Ross said. “We are aware of where they are and we're putting our enforcement efforts in those areas 
and engineering is looking at these areas to try and make them safer."

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