Sometimes, good ideas come at inconvenient times ... sometimes good ideas arrive as mediocre ideas are about to be executed. Sometimes good ideas seem like too much trouble to worry about.

We worry that could be the case with Marysville’s plans to handle traffic coming off a new, four-lane Fifth Street Bridge.

A group of local residents and business owners along Marysville’s Fifth Street are worried that the city’s three options for the corridor coming off the bridge might cause more problems than solutions. The city is worried, we’re guessing, that the citizens’ committee plan might be more complicated to execute and comes late in the funding game.

The city has done its job of putting together viable proposals for the project. They’ve presented to citizens three options for Fifth Street, between the bridge and E Street.

Option 1: Four lanes with improved pedestrian safety and street parking.

Option 2: Four lanes with improved pedestrian safety, a bike lane, but no parking.

Option 3: Four lanes with improved pedestrian safety, a median and left-turn pockets, no parking.

Mayor Ricky Samayoa said in a Tuesday story that the city has spent time the last few years coming up with the proposals. The problem with considering an alternative is the timing, it seems. Samayoa said the city is now on a tight schedule to apply for funding for the work.

The group of residents and business owners, however, say that the conversion on Fifth Street to four lanes is a problem that should be met head-on. They don’t like having four lanes down Fifth because of the traffic and speed of the traffic; and they don’t want to lose parking spaces; and they want to make it safer for pedestrians.

Tall order? It is. Their solution is to divert commuter traffic to Third Street; and turn Fifth Street into more of a business district drive with two lanes and a turning median.

Prime real estate along Marysville’s busiest roadways all around town is actually handicapped by what should be an advantage, because customers have a hard time getting in and out of parking lots along many streets. 

“I advise my customers not to park in front of the business because people often speed through, and it makes it difficult for them when they go to pull out,” said Theng Xiong, owner of Auto-Gear Performance. And it’s hard for pedestrians to cross at intersections.

That’s with things as they now are.

Xiong says the city’s options would continue the problems for the business community and others located along the corridor. Maybe make things worse.

“With the new bridge, it will almost be like a mini-highway coming down Fifth Street from Yuba City,” Xiong said. Four lanes means more traffic and faster traffic.

Michael Ferrini lives nearby, so he has skin in the game, and he’s a planner for Caltrans so, on his own time only, has helped develop the alternative idea. It includes some outside-the-box thinking. It might be a bit more complicated, but it certainly deserves a patient and willing look.

Ferrini said he’s been aware of collisions and injuries happening on the stretch of Fifth Street as it already is. 

“I felt we needed to propose a three-lane option and talk about reducing traffic on Fifth Street for the benefit of everyone,” he said in our story.

Consider this: a traffic study from some years ago, estimated that once a new four-lane bridge is completed, an average of about 46,200 vehicles would travel over it daily. That number could increase to 96,000 by 2030.

Ferrini said they hope to reroute much of that traffic to Third Street.

A planning commission meeting is today at 6 p.m. and the public is welcome to attend and give feedback. The commission will then make a recommendation to the City Council.

Samayoa said they’d listen, but must move forward quickly.

That’s good. We aren’t experts at traffic management, but we do think the concept deserves consideration. If you drive much around Marysville, you’ve been caught in a traffic snag now and then. It’s incredible, in some parts of town, how much traffic can back up in such a small metropolis. But it does ... highway traffic must be dealt with. 

Here’s an opportunity, perhaps, to deal with it before it gets very bad.

Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.

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