Mill Street closure spurs traffic changes |

Mill Street closure spurs traffic changes

After closing Mill Street last year to support downtown businesses amid COVID-19 restrictions, Grass Valley will now make further traffic tweaks to improve safety.

On Tuesday the City Council approved adding all-way stop signs to the intersection of North Church and West Main streets to help prevent accidents.

The city will also reverse the one-way traffic flow on Church Street from Main to Richardson streets, making travel south-to-north only.

According to city officials, they must still design the intersection layout and survey sign placements before the changes take place, which is expected to take a couple of weeks.

“I think having the four-way stop should have been done a long time ago,” Mayor Ben Aguilar said at the meeting. “Walkability in our community is one of the biggest things we want to do by making it more safe for pedestrians. Having that four-way stop is absolutely critical.”

According to the city’s staff report, there have been at least four reported traffic incidents at the intersection in the last six months.

Assistant City Engineer Bjorn Jones said the goal is to reduce the level of decision making needed when approaching the intersection, which has seen an increase in foot and vehicle traffic in recent months.

“The left turning movements, both coming from Main Street turning onto Church, and also coming down Church turning on to Main, they’re both difficult movements,” he said. “You’re having to cross uncontrolled travel lanes, you’re having to look in multiple directions, looking out for other vehicles, looking out for pedestrians, and it’s just very complex with a lot going on.“

While some residents were opposed to the one-way reversal, most public comments were supportive of the stop signs. A few dozen residents on Church Street raised concerns about evacuation egress with the reversal.

Some council members said they and other cars were already treating the intersection as if it had a stop, because of how dangerous the traffic is.

“Frankly, it scares the daylights out of me pulling up to the intersection there because it is a blind intersection in terms of seeing pedestrians,“ Vice Mayor Jan Arbuckle said. ”You have to pull out a ways to actually see the traffic.“

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email or call 530-477-4229.

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