Opinion: Placerville Stop Lights Need to GO


At 5 p.m., the traffic had increased and the backup was well past the Red Apple Café, almost to Camino Heights Drive. Two lanes — dead stop. "Failure to remove those traffic lights is inexcusable"

WARREN WYLLIE | Aug 13 2913

 An open letter to the Placerville City Council members:

I made a mistake on Sunday, Aug. 11. I left our home in Pollock Pines, got on Highway 50 at 1 p.m., and headed west. After living here for almost 15 years, I know better than to drive Highway 50 heading west on Sunday afternoon, but we had something important to attend to in Shingle Springs. As we approached the Placerville city limits, the traffic stopped dead under the pedestrian overcrossing in Smith Flat. Weekend “going home” traffic from South Lake Tahoe had backed up from the “infamous three traffic lights in Placerville” all the way to past the Smith Flat exit.

After our business was complete, we headed east on Highway 50, assuming the traffic heading west from SLT had thinned out by now. Wrong. At 5 p.m., the traffic had increased and the backup was well past the Red Apple Café, almost to Camino Heights Drive. Two lanes — dead stop.

The Placerville City Council is to be congratulated on spending millions of dollars several years ago on Highway 50 “improvements” resulting in successfully increasing the traffic back up to new distances. I’m guessing the current office holders will blame: a) previous administrations or b) lack of road construction funding dollars, or even c) the beautiful weather, but the failure to remove those traffic lights is inexcusable.

If we can’t remove the three traffic lights, at least revise the timing of them to allow more traffic to flow through “beautiful downtown” Placerville. This would certainly help.

California’s automobile traffic is not going to disappear in the future and the sooner the City of Placerville and the State of California address this nasty problem on Highway 50, the better it will be for all concerned, especially us locals.

Pollock Pines







Crystal wrote: "Uh - may be useful to rag on the actual culprits. CalTrans is in charge of the freeway. The CA Teachers' Union is in charge of starting school earlier each year. All of the last-minute vacationers rush home from Tahoe the day before school starts. If you want even more fun - try going east thru the lights around 11am on an Apple Hill weekend. Oh - then CalTrans blocks off the left hand turns in Apple Hill. Tax dollars at work!"

Submitted by anonghost on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 08:25Permalink



Actually there is blame to be laid at the feet of previous city councils and bos. About 40 years ago, the plan was to build a bypass around Placerville so that thru traffic would not clog things up. Well, they whined and cried that it would "kill the city" to build a bypass. Now, it is way too late to do it, and things have only gotten worse. Glad we left.

Submitted by Paintedmoose on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 08:38Permalink



Cris wrote, "Absolutely right Mike. Placerville has no say over the matter! Where Hwy 49 & Hwy 50 cross, the stop light can only be replaced with a four-way cloverleaf intersection (State Law). There is NO place for a big four-way intersection in Placerville. That leaves just two alternatives, move Hwy 49 out of Placerville or build a two-level freeway bypass. Both Ungodly expensive and out of the control of local policy makers."

Submitted by anonghost on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 09:29Permalink



Susan wrote, "With all the housing projects planned both Green Valley Rd. and Hwy 50 will look that this every day. Get used to it unless you do something right now to stop it."

Submitted by anonghost on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 09:30Permalink



Block the road just beyond the Sly Park exit and let only residents through... Then when the failing businesses come looking for you, run...

Submitted by eldorado on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 15:11Permalink



About 10 years ago there was a busy street in Napa that had a stoplight at Highway 29 causing lots of traffic backups. Rather than building an unsightly overpass over the highway Caltrans dug down and lowered the highway under the existing grade of the city street and bridged the lowered highway. There were concerns about flooding and other issues, but 10 years later the traffic flows smoothly under the city road. It's not cheap but maybe possible.

Submitted by mark on Tue, 08/20/2013 - 09:59Permalink