New Roundabout Improves Traffic Safety in Mecca
MECCA – Riverside County’s newest roundabout is providing drivers a safer, more efficient and smoother flow through Mecca’s main intersection at Fourth Street and Hammond Road.
Supervisor John J. Benoit is welcoming the public to attend the ribbon cutting of the Mecca roundabout to be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, which will feature the unveiling of a decorative entry monument mural with the Mecca community logo.
“Roundabouts are gaining popularity in Southern California because they improve the flow of traffic and increase safety, and this intersection was ripe for one,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “The roundabout greatly enhances the primary entrance into Mecca, a community that has seen a dramatic transformation as a result of $55 million in county investment.”
The single-lane roundabout keeps traffic moving efficiently around a central island, without stop signs or traffic signals. The design requires merging drivers from Fourth Street and Hammond Road to yield to drivers in the circulating roadway of the roundabout.
In addition to the Mecca roundabout which opened to traffic in December 2012, in Riverside County, there are two, multi-leg two-lane roundabouts by the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, two in La Quinta (Old Town La Quinta and Jefferson Street and Avenue 52) and one in the Temecula Valley’s Wine Country area at Rancho California and Anza roads.
The roundabout is the reconfiguration of a complex four-way intersection adjacent to a railroad crossing. The roundabout accommodates the estimated 9,000 daily vehicles and peak-hour traffic of more than 1,200 vehicles. This entry is used by residents, agricultural businesses, commercial trucks and tourists traveling to the Painted Canyon.
The roundabout accommodates oversize vehicles, including commercial trucks common to this agricultural community, with a truck apron that allows the trucks’ rear wheels to ride up on a raised section of stamped concrete around the central island.
The aesthetic entrance to Mecca is also improved with palm trees, some landscaping, decorative walls, an entry monument installed as part of the project as well as new street lights. The $2.945 million project was funded by $2 million in Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Funds, with the remainder by redevelopment.
Since 2003, Riverside County has invested $54.6 million in public works to increase access to public services and revitalize the community of Mecca. Major improvements include the Family Service Center and Community Health Clinic and Mecca Community Library, Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, Mecca Boys & Girls Clubhouse and Mecca Fire Station #40.
The investment also includes $10.8 million in new street, sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements constructed in three phases of the Downtown Street Revitalization Project.