High speeds, backed-up turning lanes and U-turns in nearby streets are a constant trouble for students traveling Cliff Drive.
Surrounding roads and entrances to City College are of major traffic concern-four car accidents involving students have happened in this semester alone.
“I think the problem is that drivers aren’t necessarily speeding, but are going at a high rate of speed because Cliff Drive is considered a highway,” said Director of Security Erik Fricke.
Lieutenant Paul McCaffrey of the Santa Barbara Police Department shares this perspective.
He said that anytime people are driving at high speeds, accidents are inevitable.
Although the police department occasionally holds checkpoints to enforce traffic laws on Cliff, McCaffrey said they don’t do anything in particular on Cliff Drive that they wouldn’t do anywhere else around town.
As long as drivers aren’t exceeding 40 mph, they aren’t speeding on Cliff Drive. They are, however, making it difficult for students to turn left when exiting and entering East and West Campus.
Furthermore, any changes in the near future would be hard to initiate because Caltrans manages the road, and the city does not.
“They stated that the number of incidents that occurred outside of campus did not exceed the ratio they have to determine unsafe roads,” Fricke said.
Essentially, Caltrans expressed that Cliff Drive was too safe to make any changes on.
The college’s hopes to ease traffic problems would likely only occur in a scenario where Caltrans handed over control of Cliff Drive to the city.
And most traffic problems are created by students making rash decisions in attempt to avoid the traffic in the first place.
“I just make an illegal U-turn two streets down,” sophomore Shane Franklin-Rogers said.
However, he might not be breaking the law after all since U-turns are legal at most Cliff Drive intersections, according to Lieutenant McCaffrey.
“It’s ridiculous. People don’t turn at the right time, so I just skip them,” Franklin-Rogers added.
Others said they do the same.
Yet, other students avoid the chaos completely by parking just outside of campus.
“I gave up years ago,” said Carmel Kolb, a business major. “I park in the neighborhood and walk to school. There’s a group of us.”
If City College ever creates an opportunity to make changes at campus entrances, Fricke has a couple ideas in mind that would alleviate the situation.
“I think a good option would be to put a single light like they have on Las Positas at the other end of Cliff Drive,” Fricke said about the area directly outside of West Campus. “It controls traffic over there and it doesn’t get too backed up.”
Until changes occur, the only traffic control the school will likely implement is during the first few weeks of each semester, when security directs students to only make right turns at the East Campus exit.
“It takes too long to make a left turn,” Fricke said. “It creates a traffic jam that can go back to the bookstore sometimes.”