Area sees heavy traffic from prison, Redwood School

County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Lake Earl Drive and Moorehead and Kings Valley roads in Fort Dick.

Two stop signs currently exist on Moorehead and Kings Valley roads where they meet up at Lake Earl Drive, according to the county's staff report. The Board of Supervisors' decision will result in an additional pair of stop signs installed on Lake Earl Drive. County workers would also add "stop ahead" signs and crosswalks for each leg of the intersection, said County Engineer Jim Barnts.

Barnts said he expects the stop signs to be installed in about two weeks.

Most of the traffic on that part of Lake Earl Drive comes from Pelican Bay State Prison and Redwood School, according to the county's staff report. An average of 2,750 cars travel Lake Earl Drive south of Moorehead Road daily. North of Moorehead Road, an average of 2,550 cars travel daily on Lake Earl Drive. An average of 850 and 1,200 cars travel daily on Moorehead and Kings Valley roads, respectively, according to the county's report.

Traffic volume typically increases when school starts in the morning and again when students get out of class in the afternoon. Prison shift changes also drive traffic volume on Lake Earl Drive, according to the report. At peak hours, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., there can be more than 250 cars on Lake Earl Drive and 120 cars on Kings Valley Road.

Foot traffic to and from Redwood School as well as Fort Dick Market is also heavy, according to Barnts.

"For the safety of pedestrians, mostly children, as well as cars, it's a good idea to add two stop signs," he said.

Following Barnts' presentation, District 2 Supervisor Martha McClure asked him about possibly installing lighted crosswalks in addition to the stop signs.

Barnts said installing a lighted crosswalk usually isn't done when there are stop signs.

"Where we have crosswalks we really like to put stop signs," he said. "Because pedestrians think it's safe to cross, especially kids, and somebody may be looking at their radio and don't notice it."

District 1 Supervisor Roger Gitlin brought up a similar issue with the intersection of El Dorado Street and Harding Avenue near Bess Maxwell Elementary School. He said he has received complaints from constituents about the traffic there and added that he would like the Board of Supervisors to look into putting a stop sign at that intersection.

"I'm glad you clarify that a stop sign where a clearly marked crosswalk is, is an important safety factor," he said.

In other matters, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the purchase of a children's memorial flag for each of the county's four flag poles.

The Del Norte Child Abuse Prevention Council asked the Board to purchase a children's memorial flag at a price of approximately $107 to fly at the Flynn Administrative Center during April, which is Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The Child Abuse Prevention Council raises a flag at a candlelight vigil on April 1. It's the organization's goal to blanket the county with children's memorial flags to raise awareness. The flags are red with blue paper doll-like figures of children holding hands. In the center, the white chalk outline of a missing child symbolizes the thousands of children lost to violence.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at