Input still sought for Skyway changes in Paradise

Input still sought for Skyway changes in Paradise

PARADISE, Calif. - Time and time again the Skyway from Pearson to Elliott Road has proven itself to be a dangerous stretch of road.

In the past decade, there have been 90 injury collisions in the area, which is about twice the average collision rate.

The Town of Paradise wants to change that, and they've been awarded a $1 million safety grant to do just that.

"The basic benefit of this project is improved safety. That's our number one priority," said town engineer Marc Mattox.

At the public workshop, Mattox explained that most accidents through the stretch of road involve rear-end collisions, which he said can be attributed to the lack of a center turn lane, which also causes traffic to back up.

Linda Horton-Lyons once owned a restaurant along the Skyway and can attest to how dangerous the road can be.

She says when directing customers to her business she would tell them, "I'm between Cozy Diner, Bank of America, across from Les Schwab. Don't blink because you'll be in an accident."

To help alleviate the problem, the Town of Paradise has developed a plan to give the Skyway a diet.

"This project is actually counter-intuitive to what people would expect for an improvement project," Mattox said. "We're taking a road that used to be two lanes and now it's four, and we're proposing in our downtown to take it back down to two."

They'd use the extra space for more parking, but more importantly to create that middle left-hand turn lane.

To keep pedestrians safer they're proposing to install crosswalk bulbs that would make them more visible and yield beacons to alert drivers.

Although fewer lanes would allow a smaller traffic volume at any given time, they're also proposing to time the lights at Elliott and Pearson roads to allow for better flow of traffic.

Studies done by the town traffic department show commute times would increase in the area around 15 to 20 seconds.

But Mattox said that's not much of a sacrifice to create a safer environment for everyone.

"To get people still where they need to go and have the safety benefits for pedestrians crossing the street, shoppers using the downtown, it's really a win-win."

On top of being safer, the proposed changes would make the downtown area more attractive and provide better access for businesses.

The Paradise Town Council won't vote on a final draft of the plan until May. Until then, officials encourage the public to come forth with concerns and input.

More information on how to contact the Town of Paradise can be found on their website.

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