Drivers will still be able to make left turns at one of Bear Valley Road's most congested intersections, thanks to the Hesperia City Council voting down a proposed traffic study Thursday night.
The Hesperia and Victorville City Councils met in a special joint meeting Thursday night to consider means of alleviating traffic congestion along Bear Valley Road, which forms the boundary between the Victor Valley's two largest municipalities.
The primary proposal was an eight-week traffic study by KOA Consulting that would look at the effect of preventing motorists from making left turns on Mariposa Road.
The consulting group projected that the change could raise commuters' average speed in the Bear Valley/Mariposa area from 6 miles per hour in the morning to 14 miles per hour, and from 4 miles per hour to 8 miles per hour in the evening.
The traffic burden would just be redistributed elsewhere along Bear Valley, though: KOA acknowledged in their report that Cottonwood Avenue would end up taking on some of the "burden," as the report puts it, "by traffic getting rerouted through this intersection."
Victorville City Council members were unanimously in favor of the study, but the Hesperia City Council voted it down, 2-3, with only Mayor Mike Leonard and Councilman Thurston "Smitty" Smith supporting the idea.
"I'm not real enamored with no-left turns; that's going to hurt some Hesperia businesses," Hesperia Mayor Pro Tem Russ Blewett said on Friday. "You've got a McDonald's there, you've got a Marie Calendar's, you've got the Steer & Stein. ... In my opinion," an eight-week study would "be devastating."
Mayor Ryan McEachron of Victorville was disappointed in the vote by the Hesperia councilmen, he said.
"We're talking about a pilot project and we all, as elected officials, are charged with the duty to reduce traffic congestion," McEachron said Friday. "To not have the votes to buy into a basic pilot study ... is a little hard to understand."
Both Hesperia and Victorville are working on new freeway interchanges that should alleviate traffic on Bear Valley Road. But the neither the Ranchero Road nor the Nisquali Road interchanges have broken ground at this point, and are years away from completion.
"I think it's still a good idea," McEachron said. "We've got to find a way to reduce traffic congestion while we wait for our traffic interchanges get built."
Staff writer Brooke Edwards contributed to this report.
Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.