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Ripon seeks to tame commuter traffic cutting thru the city

The City of Ripon is looking to further deter motorists cutting through the city streets in an effort to avoid the traffic congestion along the Highway 120 Bypass and southbound Highway 99

Based on the traffic analysis provided by Fehr & Peers, the first phase of the plan calls for the installation of advanced detector loops on West Ripon Road to monitor speeds and queues for eastbound traffic.

“This will be used to activate a predetermined timing plan for the downtown Main Street intersections with traffic signals,” said Engineering Supervisor James Pease at the May 14 Ripon City Council meeting.

Fehr & Peers, transportation consultants, provided a traffic analysis that identified the existing traffic patterns and existing traffic volumes, with elected leaders approving the first phase of the plan that also includes:

The application of special timing patterns to the traffic signals on Main Street at Jack Tone Road, Robert Avenue and Wilma Avenue that are conducive to our efforts of reducing the cut through traffic.

The installation of truck route signage on West Ripon Road and Jack Tone Road.

The addition of speed radar indicator signs on Main Street.

Coordinating with police on enforcement efforts.

Working with San Joaquin County on other potential signage and additional all way stop traffic control on West Ripon Road outside of City limits.  

The goal would be to complete and implement the above items within the next 6 months, Pease said.

Ripon officials took several measures to deter the growing number of motorists traveling along city streets during commute hours.

 “This large increase in commute traffic is beyond what our city streets were designed for and is resulting in significant delays to residents along with an increase in moving violations,” said Pease, who noted that the traffic signal at Jack Tone and West Ripon Road were adjusted last July with the intent of relieving some of the downtown congestion.

“The timing of the light was changed to extend the time the light is red for traffic traveling east on West Ripon Road along with extending the time the light is green for vehicles turning north onto Jack Tone Road,” Pease said, adding that those changes took place only on weekdays from 3:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

As for Fehr & Peers, they’re quite familiar with the traffic issues that the City been experiencing thanks to their work with the San Joaquin Council of Governments — or SJCOG — on a congested corridor plan that includes Highway 99 and 120.

Fehr & Peers evaluated a number of mitigation measures including signal timing adjustments, stop signs and a new traffic signal to help develop a plan to reduce the amount of traffic cutting through the City.

Pease also shared a technical memorandum from Fehr & Peers.

The memo identified a direct connection between the speed on Highway 99/120 and the congestion the City experiences on West Ripon Road and Main Street.

It mentioned the first phase of the Caltrans Highway 99/120 Improvement project which should reduce traffic congestion on the 120 bypass and reduce the number of vehicles that exit and take the alternative route through Ripon to avoid the freeway interchange.

This project will begin in 2020 and the anticipated completion date is in 2023. 

Pease added that some of the measures being proposed by Caltrans should help with the overall flow of traffic on Highway 99 in the future.