Traffic panel would work on road safety |

Traffic panel would work on road safety

More than 1,000 traffic accidents are reported every year on Nevada County’s streets, roads and highways, resulting in property damage, injuries and loss of life.

To help reduce the number and severity of accidents, the county Department of Transportation and Sanitation went to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday with a resolution to establish a Traffic Safety Committee.

The big word in the traffic safety community is collaboration, said John Rumsey, a senior civil engineer with the department.

While many agencies in the county are conducting traffic safety programs, Rumsey said, no central coordinating body exists.

The purpose of the committee is to coordinate those programs, improve communication and the exchange of information between the agencies involved, and expand and enhance existing programs.

“We want to coordinate to create the greatest positive impact on the community in regard to auto, bicycle and pedestrian traffic safety,” said department Director Michael Hill-Weld. “We’re hoping the coordinated approach will help reduce traffic accident rates.”

The proposed committee would include a member from the supervisors; representatives from Grass Valley, Nevada City and Truckee; and law enforcement and emergency medical services representatives from state, county and city levels.

After hearing the resolution, the supervisors referred it back to the transportation department with instructions to expand the committee’s membership to include public members and a representative from the Nevada County Transportation Commission.

Supervisor Elizabeth Martin said she’s received a lot of calls from her constituents in District 4 who are concerned about speeding and traffic safety.

“The Lake Wildwood community has a lot of interest in roads,” Martin said.

Supervisors Bruce Conklin, Sue Horne and Peter Van Zant agreed the proposed committee should include an NCTC representative.

“Traffic safety and traffic planning need to go together,” Conklin said.

Van Zant said the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County, which is working with the county on fire safety evacuation plans, should also be included on the committee.

Hill-Weld said he’ll amend the resolution to expand membership and bring it back for the supervisors’ review in three weeks.

According to the Nevada County Community Assessment Project, 38 percent of the residents surveyed said traffic issues were their biggest public safety concern.

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