I wanted to take a moment to respond to Ms. Karnopp’s letter (March 1) referencing the access to the new Starbucks and the “no U-turn” from eastbound Grant Avenue at Matsumoto Lane, as she is not alone in her concerns.
First, just to clarify, the Winters Police Department is not responsible for traffic engineering of the roadways, just the enforcement of the laws on the roadways. The City of Winters does retain a traffic engineer through Ponticello Enterprises Consulting Engineers out of Woodland; however, Grant Avenue, being State Highway 128, falls under the jurisdiction of California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) for all traffic engineering, including speed limits, signage, etc. The Winters Police Department does retain primary responsibility for traffic enforcement on the portion of Highway 128 that falls within our city limits (Grant Avenue).
One of the concerns the Police Department recognized as Starbucks prepared to open was the potential for vehicles to attempt to turn from the left turn pocket of eastbound Grant Avenue into the Starbucks drive through. This would have been across a double yellow line, a violation of the California Vehicle Code, and exposed the turning vehicle to broadside impacts from westbound traffic at relatively high speeds — a very dangerous combination.
Based on this safety concern, our traffic engineer worked with CalTrans and the temporary delineators were installed. The City’s traffic engineer also inquired with the CalTrans traffic engineers regarding making U-turns at the intersection. CalTrans advised the minimum width required to allow for a passenger car to make a U-turns at an intersection is 50’ and this intersection measured 43.5’, therefore, U-turns would remain prohibited at this location.
As development continues in that area, we will be seeing more changes to the roadway. The temporary delineators will eventually be replaced by a permanent cement island and the Starbucks drive through will be accessible from Matsumoto Lane as Chevron completes their redevelopment and the Starbucks parking lot is expanded to allow through traffic. In the meantime, we ask for your patience and to obey the law as these restrictions were put into place for your and other motorists’ safety.
JOHN P. MILLER
Chief of Police
Winters Police Department