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Bulbout Construction
updated: Jan 27, 2014, 3:00 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

What does everyone think of the bulbout construction at Cathedral Oaks and Santa Marguerita? I've noticed that the right turn lane is completely eliminated, and the bike lane has been significantly diminished.

I was under the impression that flashing beacons were going to be installed, but had no idea such large bulbouts would be constructed as well.

Please post your thoughts, concerns, etc. and please be sure to email your local city council members.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 489703 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 03:10 PM

Sounds like whoever planned this completely missed the point. The issue is light and visibility. It could be reduced to one lane and be just as dangerous. If done correctly, it could be 3 lanes in each direction and be much safer.
I'm guessing bulbouts were the cheapest solution.


 COMMENT 489704 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 03:17 PM

So now cars not only have to merge from 2 lanes into 1 at this location, but ALL traffic is also going to be slowed to a stop when people turn right. As someone who lives in the area and makes this right turn daily, I can tell you that even when there WAS a turn lane, the person behind me would be on my tail because I was ONLY going 40 (instead of the 50 most people want to do on CO) approaching the turn lane. I anticipate a lot of people getting rear-ended as they try to turn right with this new setup.
Just a terrible decision all around, and one that makes this intersection even more dangerous.


 COMMENT 489706 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 03:26 PM

Fail. And, now drivers will be focusing their eyes on the ground at the bulbouts, rather than at pedestrian/car/bicycle level.


 COMMENT 489712 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 03:46 PM

Very poor design. It's like they were forced to do something quickly except use logic. I understand that someone died but seriously, making it one lane now, what are they thinking?

There were better options like - use the new bright street lights like they are using in I.V., flashing pedestrian signs, another traffic signal, or place stop signs at the intersection. I'm sure if I had a few more minutes I could think of a lot more ideas.


 COMMENT 489716 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 03:54 PM

that bulbout is vulgar


 COMMENT 489720 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 03:58 PM

Definitely glad to know I am not alone in this thinking.

When does the city council/planning commission discuss construction like this (if at all)?

I feel like the amount of people upset over this project outweighs those that actually wanted it, leading me to believe the public really had no say in the decision whatsoever.

A lot of the solutions brought up here are exactly what I was thinking would work too. Cut some of the trees back on the island 100 yards or so back, and install the flashing beacons for pedestrians.

I was informed by the city council that the beacons will be installed and the bike lane will be painted green. I honestly couldn't fathom how painting the bike lane green saves money or accomplishes anything.


 COMMENT 489726 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 04:16 PM

If you reduce the amount of time that a pedestrian is in the road and you reduce the speed of the cars, then pedestrians will be safer. The bulbout accomplished both of these. And I don't really understand the complaints about the road being reduced to one lane....the road already reduces to one lane immediately after Santa Marguerita.  So all the bulbout has done is moved this restriction about half a block.  It's absolutely NO big deal.  Drivers (the only group of people complaining here) will get used to this bulbout in no time.  Pedestrians will love it.


 COMMENT 489727 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 04:17 PM

Do you realize how selfish you all sound?

An actual person died while nothing was done about this dangerous intersection. Now you're all whining about a bunch of hypothetical and imaginary traffic situations and complaining about the itty bitty bit of extra time it might take to get through this intersection? Do you really think that's more important than making a neighborhood with schools safe for pedestrians?

You should all be ashamed of yourselves.


 COMMENT 489734 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 04:29 PM

It looks like Public Works has made it safer for Second Class road citizens (pedestrians) and also made it more dangerous for the Third Class road citizens (bicyclists) !!
While adding a little inconvenience to Motorists (First Class road citizens). No Surprise there !!


 COMMENT 489736 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 04:33 PM

726, 727:

The road is reduced to 1 lane, yes, but the turn lane is now gone. In the past week, I have almost been rearended on 2 separate occasions due to the single lane being incorporated into the turn lane.

One could argue that less time in the street means less chance pedestrians get hit, but one could also argue that the amount of time saved by this is minimal. And if it was the case, why don't we just make all of hollister 1 lane as well? There are many more crossings and many more pedestrians there with a much higher volume of traffic.

I'm tired of hearing that things like this are "no big deal" when we are being forced to pay for something that we never even asked for.

727, according to the city council, this construction was not due to the accident, it has been in planning for 2 years. It has nothing to do with that fatality, which btw, is the only one I can remember there (I've lived in that neighborhood since 1994).


 COMMENT 489742 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 04:45 PM

Bulbouts are a waste of money and just ridiculous. What is needed are bright lights at each corner so we can see pedestrians approaching the crosswalk and make sure they are string enough to light the entire crosswalk (thinking the ones cal trans uses when working at night). If you hit a pedestrian with that type of visibility you are either under the influence or distracted.


 COMMENT 489755 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 05:18 PM

726 and 727 are probably behind this well thought out resolution.


 COMMENT 489759 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 05:20 PM

736, it's only been completed a short time. If you've "almost been rearended" twice, perhaps a) you should reconsider how you take a right turn (aka you're probably going far too slowly and the fault is yours) and/or b) you should reconsider your reaction to drivers behind you (aka you're overly critical and again the fault is yours).

Personally I find the reconstruction of the intersection highly reactionary and in the wrong way. No one else has died here. That means plenty of peds and cars have safely negotiated the space for decades. More driver training and education is the solution to all of these issues. Stop forcing good and safe drivers to be nannied into an unnatural submission via bulbous.


 COMMENT 489764 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 05:24 PM

736: How about a little perspective?

You may have "almost been rear ended" while driving in your metal framed vehicle that undoubtedly has all sorts of safety equipment that should prevent serious injury should you be rear ended. (Note, you didn't actually get rear ended because drivers look out for other cars because they're big, and they don't want to damage their own cars.)

On the other hand, an actual person, who had to rely solely on some stripes on the pavement and the cooperation and awareness of drivers ended up DEAD.

I'm tired of people thinking their momentary inconvenience is more important than ANYONE else's life. And the cost of these traffic improvements truly is NO BIG DEAL compared to the loss of a life.

Who cares why the City is doing it? It's a dangerous intersection for pedestrians, and they're taking measure to make it safer. And it will be safer, despite all the hand wringing by the amateur traffic engineers on edhat.


 COMMENT 489775 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 05:40 PM

COMMENT 489726 is right. It seems like a lot of people are getting excited over something that has been on the books for a while. The City approved it last March according to their website so all of the naysayers could have gone to that Council meeting and given their opinions. Instead of being involved in the process at the right time which would be helpful, people just want to complain. Additional lighting is going in and the bike lanes will be painted with special paint to delineate them. I'm not sure how people think this won't help. And it certainly couldn't hurt.


 COMMENT 489777P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 05:41 PM

As a regular bicyclist and pedestrian, I hate bulb-outs! I want flashing lights when a pedestrian is crossing, and better lighting, to alert drivers to someone in the cross-walk. 90+% of the time, there is no pedestrian there, and the lighting and design of that intersection is such that they don't tend to be highly visible when they are there. Fix that problem -- making pedestrians crossing the street more visible -- and you've solved the deadly problem without creating another one.

Bulb-outs are horrible for most bicyclists. We already have to bike highly aware of distracted drivers, right next to us, going way faster. When you then narrow the road suddenly, so that we have to essentially merge with the car traffic? Are you kidding me? Bulb-outs were not designed by people with common sense. Just put in better lighting and flashing pedestrian crossing lights and the problem would have been solved better, faster, safer, and cheaper.


 COMMENT 489785P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 05:48 PM

I live near the downtown area, and we all hate those bulb-outs. Makes it difficult to make a right-hand turn and not go into the opposing oncoming traffic lane. Especially, if you have a big vehicle. Awful.


 COMMENT 489797 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 06:16 PM

No pictures? Haven't seen any from 154/246 construction either. C'mon OPs...use your camera phone.


 COMMENT 489807P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 06:40 PM

I'm okay with them (and elsewhere where they've been installed).


 COMMENT 489811 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 06:48 PM

The island (bulb out) east bound is a bad idea unless they also fill in the second lane for the 1/4 of a block it is there and make a small right turn only turn pocket instead. And remove a few of the street trees that block the view of pedestrians and street light. I would be scared to stand at that bulb out.

Westbound, they should have gone with a triangular shaped island so right turn traffic is not in the main lane. And moved the street light to the island.

Bicyclists were obviously not considered at all

Still wondering when some one will be injured at the Hollister/ Winchester out bound area where the sidewalk ends in a traffic lane with no way for people to reach the side walk on the far side of the intersection


 COMMENT 489812 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-27 06:51 PM

complete fail on this one.......now there is a traffic hazard as well as a pedestrian and bike hazard at the same location.......unbelievable.


 COMMENT 489857P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 03:17 AM

785P: You're wrong. Not "all" of us. I went to every one of the meetings at St. Francis, years ago, where the City asked for our input on "traffic calming."
I've lived here my whole life and been driving since I was 15 1/2. Drivers here get what they deserve. If most people are going to drive too fast, ease past limit lines/stop signs at 5-10 mph and treat pedestrians and bicyclists like obstacles . . .well . . .Thanks to the bad drivers, yes, now we ALL have to be "nannied" with bulbouts. It's a shame. A real shame.
If I had my way, we'd install paid workers with video cameras/radar guns at certain intersections and start recording and reporting the speeding and non-stopping. I bet that would make a lot of drivers rethink their entitled inexcusable behavior. Until that time, I say----nanny away.


 COMMENT 489871 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 07:31 AM

As a cyclist I agree it's a horrible idea.


 COMMENT 489877P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 08:06 AM

I wonder if ANY of the complainers ever took the time to show up at a city council meeting to voice their suggestions or organize a group of 3 to 8 residents to show up. Instead they just put down the people who are volunteering their time trying their best to make things safer.


 COMMENT 489879 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 08:07 AM

I'm surprised that people aren't happy about the pedestrian-activated beacons which will be a HUGE improvement. What if a stop light had been installed instead. Then people really would have had something to complain about.


 COMMENT 489881 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 08:14 AM

It's a main thoroughfare for bicyclists, more of them pass through here than anywhere in town. They should provide bike lane slots through the bulbouts. They missed the point entirely, light it up. Blinking strips, brighter lights at the corners, & pave the median back 30 yards for better driver visability. Revisit the statistics in 10 years & count # of rear ended, & # of bicyclists injured or killed, thanks the the bulbouts. Rear enders are not trivial, back & neck injuries can be life threatening if not life shortening, never mind expensive or inconvenient.
No. bulbouts = bad idea. High speed speed humps (30 mph), better lighting, increased median visability, & flashing cross walk lights would have been the best solution for ALL road users, cars, bikes, & people.


 COMMENT 489882 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 08:16 AM

@871 Agreed. Next it will be a cyclist getting hit due to the constriction. Then what?


 COMMENT 489892 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 08:43 AM

Get a bag of concrete and build ramps so the bikes can go straight across the bulbouts without swerving. Cost: $5.

If someone rear ends you then they are at fault and you can get a new car plus compensation for any neck or back injuries you suffer.

I guess they had to pick between dead pedestrians and mangled cars and drivers and the drivers lost.


 COMMENT 489902 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 09:09 AM

The theory behind "bulb-out" safety is badly flawed. The two reasons offered up in their support are that the distance for crossing the street from curb to curb is shortened (less exposure to traffic) and the pedestrian about to cross is "more visible" to traffic because, in essence, they are out in the roadway on a curb-out. The problem is by law, a pedestrian may not step into a roadway until it is safe to do so. Once they do, then they acquire legal right of way and vehicles must stop and yield to them. At a conventional intersection a pedestrian can step into the relatively safe area of the road next to the curb and acquire right of way. At a "bulb-out", a pedestrian is stepping directly into the active traffic lane in front of vehicles traveling at the speed limit or (faster) giving them a false sense of safety.


 COMMENT 489903 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 09:15 AM

This is another dumb idea like the roundabout at Los Carneros and Calle Real. They don't even have the guts to call them bulbouts but call them curb enhancements. Public Works is out of control in Goleta.


 COMMENT 489926 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 10:03 AM

Pedestrian crossings which are unlit at night are extremely dangerous. And a significant proportion in this area qualify as such.


 COMMENT 489942 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 10:41 AM

The incident was a tragedy, but it's hard to get hit by a car, you have to be either unaware of your surroundings or too trusting.

Please be careful out there and assume the car won't stop for you. Lot's of people are in a rush or distracted...other times, pedestrians are in the dark and wearing dark clothing.

I commute Cathedral most days and there are lots of places along the route where would be very difficult to see a pedestrian...even when I'm riding my scooter instead of driving, with the increased visibility, it can still be difficult.

I'm pleased they are making a change to help pedestrians, but there are many other places that pedestrians and drivers need to pay extra attention to each other.


 COMMENT 489947 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 10:50 AM

I payed extra attention as I rode by it today. There is about 2 feet of usable lane left next to the curb, which means every bike that goes by is going to be suddenly jutting out in traffic.


 COMMENT 489960 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 11:06 AM

As someone who lives right there, I can confirm again that this is a TERRIBLE change, one that is going to result in people being rear-ended, cars hitting the new curbs, and bicyclists not having enough room to pass. I unfortunately was there after the fatal accident, and completely agreed that something needed to change at this intersection, but whoever thought that removing the right turn lane would make it safer needs his head examined.

Practically speaking, this intersection really called for a signal, not this unusual and confusing bulbout. Counting the days til we hear about the first accident at this "improvement."

And a number of community member DID go to the hearing, which was during working hours and not practical for everyone to attend, but I don't believe they had any say in the proposed solution. I'm guessing this was just the cheapest and quickest one. It is a disaster.


 COMMENT 489967 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 11:21 AM

This does not call for a signal. If anywhere along Cathedral Oaks needs a signal, it's Los Carneros.

I wish people would just wait and see the final product with new lighting, the flashing beacon, etc. before making a judgement. You only need to wait a week or two to see it finalized.


 COMMENT 489982 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 11:50 AM

942: Are you for real??? You're blaming a dead person for being hit by a car in a CROSSWALK???

736: This is the "only [fatality] you can remember"? So, just how many people have to die before it matters to you?

785P: Speak for yourself. I love the bulbouts whether I'm driving or walking. Much safer as a pedestrian because you are more visible, have a shorter crossing distance AND cars have to slow way down. If it's so difficult for you to steer around a bulb-out, you should seriously reconsider whether you are truly capable of operating a motor vehicle, and if your vehicle is too big for you to handle, by all means get a smaller vehicle. Besides, there have been zero pedestrians hit at any of the bulbout intersections since they've gone in.

I truly thought I had heard it all, but the level of selfishness being exhibited on this thread is an all-time high.


 COMMENT 489983 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 11:52 AM

The knee-jerk reaction of the current crop of so called traffic planners (or engineers) results from the fact they spent their educational days dreaming (or reading another's dreams) about "new-wave" approaches like bulb-outs, roundabouts, chicanes, speed bumps, street narrowing choke-points and other obstructions which they have been told "calm traffic". (whatever that means) Unfortunately the curriculum did not include any lessons in common sense and one could even logically assume that these "planners" either did not drive automobiles at all, did not understand basic human nature, or perhaps both!


 COMMENT 490027 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 01:36 PM

It's another spot of job security for those of us on the other side of the business. C ya.


 COMMENT 490074 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 03:19 PM

Anyone (especially 902) that cannot navigate a pass thru or a left or right turn at an intersection with a bulbout, whether they are in a small car, a huge car, a truck, or a bicycle, should not be operating that vehicle. You need lessons on how to drive.


 COMMENT 490093 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 03:55 PM

The Independent did an article about the increase in local bulbouts in 2010, noting that vehicles, especially trucks and buses, were hitting the curbs regularly; that bicyclists did not have enough room to ride safely by the bulbouts, and that they were expensive to install and maintain.

Another study I read online said that bulbouts only decreased speed 1-2 mph on average.

It is not about who is a good driver. The reality is that a there are a lot of hurried, distracted drivers out there that are not going to be slowing down and paying attention to things like a bulbout, so this is NOT a good solution for this intersection.


 RAINE5360 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-28 10:44 PM

Hate bulb-outs, and they don't belong on Cathedral Oaks. Some people won't be satisfied unless there is a crossing on every corner (i.e., Calle Real between Kellogg & Fairview). The peds "right of way" promotes a false sense of security, because a) peds don't stand a chance against a moving vehicle, which, by simple law of physics, needs more time to stop; and b) pedestrians are not easily visible. The problem is the law. Some peds assume cars will stop for them, but some drivers won't stop simply because they don't see peds in time. The pedestrian law is impractical and lacking in common sense.


 COMMENT 490214 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-29 07:42 AM

Like the foolish Chicanes installed on Stanley drive, these island obstructions jutting into the roadway operate on the theory that you can slow down traffic by forcing vehicles traveling in oposite direction to head straight for each other as if they were to collide head on. This "traffic calming" device is one of those foolhardy examples infecting current traffic "planning". In actuality, the placement of these dangerous obstructions in the roadway managed to reduce the speed of the traffic flow (as later determined by a before and after speed survey), by a mighty 2 to 3 miles per hour. One can see that these things are struck regularly by the impact marks, pieces of motor vehicles inside the island, etc. They also are ugly and no doubt expensive to maintain.


 COMMENT 490225 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-29 08:20 AM

074, no need to be insulting. The problem especially for bicycles isn't that we "can't navigate" the bulb out, it's that the navigation of such forces is out into traffic into an even more dangerous position. Now I will have to either swing suddenly out into traffic which is clearly unsafe, or I will have to move out into traffic WAY before it which just angers motorists more. But I shouldn't be surprised, people love to jack around with the bike lane and then not understand why we have to be in the roadway so much.


 COMMENT 490355 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-29 01:59 PM

Now that you've explained why bikes look erratic near bulbouts, can you explain why you like to ride two abreast in every other location? This makes you ride outside of any delineated bike lanes and closer to passing cars.


 COMMENT 490356 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-29 01:59 PM

902: You are mistaken that a pedestrian has to step into the street BEFORE they have the right of way. The vehicle code is very clear: pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks and cars have to yield to them. Your skewed interpretation is completely wrong, not in the vehicle code and won't absolve you of responsibility when you get a ticket or hit someone.

On a bulbout it's even more clear. Since there is absolutely no reason for a pedestrian to be on the bulbout unless they are crossing, any pedestrian on a bulbout already is in the process of crossing the street, and has the right of way. In other words, if you see someone on a bulbout, STOP.


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