■ By Rusty Strait / Senior Reporter
For as long as memory allows Florida Avenue, a.k.a State Highway 74, has been a
political football with blame tossed back and forth between the City of Hemet and CalTrans, like kids slinging snowballs in the winter. Meanwhile, the public suffers.
Florida Avenue should be called “Suicide Lane” because driving in any direction – East to West or North to South, and any variation thereof, is a chance to literally take your own life. Some of the busiest cross streets do not have left turn signals. For instance, at Yale Street and Kirby. Cars dart in and out and change lanes as if they were taught to drive this way when they earned their license. Two particular spots have no lights at all and are prone to illegal left turns simply because of expediency.
Coming out of the bowling alley west of Kirby Street, there needs to be a red traffic light with left turn signals as well as the Florida Avenue exit from the Hemet Mall. These are two of the most dangerous spots in town where a left turn signal should be installed. Now comes the battle over a median through town. Has the world gone haywire? That is not a solution for left turns, it is merely worsening an already dangerous situation.
Try driving by Weston Park eastbound after 11 p.m. You better not be in the curb
lane because it has become a new kind of sport for those who think it is fun to jump out at cars, bounce off the side and make claims against your insurance policy.
Since City of Hemet claims its hands are tied when it comes to control of Florida Avenue yet, it is the taxpayers of Hemet who are stuck with this untenable and suicidal situation that the residents of Hemet, San Jacinto and the unincorporated areas of Riverside County are faced with. Perhaps the citizens have the power in numbers to assail CalTrans with letters demanding that they correct the situation NOW, not sometime in the future, before a major catastrophe takes place. CalTrans address:
California Department of Transportation
1120 North Street
Sacramento, CA 95814