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Local News

City of Santa Barbara Installs Stoplights at Intersection of De la Vina, Arrellaga Streets

The lights are expected to be turned on for drivers by Thursday morning in a move city officials hope will reduce the number of collisions

Newly-installed stoplights at De la Vina and Arrellaga streets in Santa Barbara are expected to be turned on Thursday morning.
Newly-installed stoplights at De la Vina and Arrellaga streets in Santa Barbara are expected to be turned on Thursday morning. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara's most dangerous intersection now has stoplights, a move city transportation officials hope will reduce the number of collisions.

The intersection of De la Vina and Arrellaga streets was the location of 12 collisions in 2013, 11 of which were vehicle-vs.-vehicle and one that involved a car hitting a pedestrian, making it statistically the most dangerous intersection with the most collisions, according to the city. 

Crews have been installing the lights since early April and drivers should see the lights operating for the first time Thursday morning, said Derrick Bailey, supervising transportation engineer for the City of Santa Barbara.

"It was really bad," he said of the intersection's collision record.

The next worst intersection, at Carrillo and De la Vina streets, clocks in at 10 collisions and already has a stop light, Bailey said.

The De la Vina and Arrellaga intersection has a lower traffic volume, but Bailey said many of the collisions there have to do with the proximity to the Highway 101 on- and off-ramps at Arrellaga and Castillo streets. People "are taking chances" to get to the ramps, he said. 

Santa Barbara keeps a collision database that is constantly updated to look for patterns or trends, Bailey said. 

"This one really stood out," he said.

The light will be timed for people to make the light if they are driving just over 25 miles per hour through the surrounding blocks. 

"We don't want people to speed up to feel like they have to make the light," he said.

The total project cost is $173,000, which includes the new streetlights and the traffic signals themselves, and $140,000 of that came from Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration.

The city came up with the remaining funds.

To deal with traffic volumes in the area from the light, the city installed a four-way stop at Arrellaga and Bath streets​ last week, which is one block away from the new stoplights.

Bailey said that one-way streets like De la Vina present a challenge for planners, but there would be a lot more gridlock without them.

"It's a challenging trade-off between mobility and safety," he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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