Motorists crashing into block walls, near-misses and neighborhood gridlock are plaguing The Villages at Queen Creek, a subdivision in the heart of downtown Queen Creek.
Residents say they’re tired of having their neighborhood used as a shortcut for commuters trying to avoid intersection backups and road construction. And they are particularly concerned about how fast people drive because of an elementary school and a park along the shortcut route.
“This is supposed to be a collector road for our neighborhood,” resident Bill Fischbach said. “It’s not designed to collect a portion of the 75 percent of Pinal County pass-through traffic.”
The morning rush hour, from 7:15 a.m. to 8 a.m., is the worst time, resident Jeff Brown said. Cars will get backed up, blocking driveways and trapping residents from getting out, he said.
Fischbach said evening rush hours and times when Brandon Frances-Pickett Elementary School lets out are all tough on the neighborhood. “It’s not something we really get a break from,” he said.
Drivers are using the neighborhood’s roads to avoid the traffic and intersection backups on Rittenhouse, Ellsworth and Ocotillo roads. And those drivers are not obeying the neighborhood’s posted speed limits of 25 mph and 30 mph, residents said.
Both Fischbach and Brown want traffic-calming mechanisms, such as signs and speed humps, installed in their neighborhood.
Interim public works director Don Noble met with the homeowners association this week to discuss the issue.
He said the town is making road improvements in the area, but not specifically to address the issues the neighborhood is experiencing.
“What’s happening right now is that we’re realigning Rittenhouse and Ocotillo (intersection),” Noble said. “That may be a contributing factor, but it’s slated to open on a partial basis the middle of this month. Our hope is that it will help.”
Noble said the town will wait a couple of weeks after the Rittenhouse-Ocotillo intersection is open and then do traffic counts on the neighborhood’s Village Loop Drive. The traffic counts would measure the number of cars, the time of day and the speeds.
“We need some hard data and some numbers as to how many people are coming in off of Rittenhouse,” he said. “Until that intersection gets opened, it would skew the information.”
But Fischbach said he would rather see less study and more action.
“We live here, we don’t need a study to confirm this, it’s a big waste of money,” he said “People are going to continue to cut through here no matter what. They’re (town officials) not recognizing that we have a significant problem here.”