The speed of the vehicles zooming down West 27th Street alarms Joanne O'Dea.
School buses, city buses, tankers with trailers, and cars speed past her house -- driving well over the posted 30 mph speed limit.
And what else do they have in common?
All are using the street as an alternate route because of the labyrinthine G Street Underpass construction project.
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"People need to respect that it is a residential community and give us a little slack," said O'Dea, who has been living in her house the past five years.
Even though it's inevitable that the $20 million-plus project will bring traffic congestion and headaches around the posted detour areas near G Street, some concerned citizens such as O'Dea are asking the city for speed trailers and increased police enforcement.
Which the city is happy to do, according to David Gonzalves, the city's development services director.
"They just normally want to hear that the city is trying its best and (make) any small adjustments we can make," he said. "It's just the situation, a project of this size causes a disruption to people's lives."
Construction of the G Street Underpass and the four-lane road that will go under the BNSF railroad tracks began this summer.
Last week, O'Dea and other concerned Mercedians had an informal meeting with city and police to iron out some solutions to the traffic problem. City engineer Daryl Jordan, who was at the meeting, said most of the increase of traffic has been north of G Street, especially around 26th and 27th streets.
"We talked about signage, improving the signage through there, making it a little bit more legible," he said Monday afternoon. He added there were some concerns that the police department had decreased its presence in the area -- necessitating speed trailers, or machines that read a car's speed.
Kay Melanson, who lives on West 27th Street, said the traffic had been expected. "The city has tried, and the police have been very cooperative," she said.
O'Dea said between G and I streets, "people seem to think they can put their car in high gear and go as fast as they can. There were two car accidents at H and 27th streets in the past month," she said, pointing to the intersection Monday afternoon outside her house.
And she said, not all the time, but at least five to 10 buses drive by that don't maintain the speed limit.
If there are any buses violating the speed limit, Wynn Simon, director of transportation with Merced Union High School District, said the district takes complaints seriously. Simon said the public is the district's eyes and ears and "obviously we don't advocate that any of our buses speed."
But Simon said there hadn't been any complaints made to the office.
Some of the high traffic areas in the city are located between 21st Street and Bear Creek Drive and Glen Avenue to about Canal Street, according to Sgt. Jay Struble.
"Their biggest concern is the increased traffic; obviously and unfortunately we've tried to explain to them and the community, we can do so much as far as enforcement," he said, adding a speed trailer was placed on West 27th Street a week ago.
He said enforcement by the police is a solution, but "it's not the solution." For example, he said, in the first two months when construction began, officers wrote more than 600 tickets.
"They want the detour traffic in other directions but, unfortunately, the majority of traffic on G Street live here in Merced," he said of the West 27th Street neighborhood. "They're going to find their own way around, no matter what detour signs are posted; they're going to take whatever route they're going to take."
Struble said the department is keeping officers in the area and trying its best to enforce safety laws.
"The public that uses that route (need) to realize there is a detour and to leave early and give themselves some room," he said.
The project should be completed by December 2011, according to Gonzalves. This weekend, construction of the bridge will begin, he said. For the most part, he said, "people are understanding it (the construction) has to be done."
O'Dea echoed that while she did have speed concerns in the area, she knew they were inevitable.
"We knew it wasn't going to be perfection," O'Dea said. "We're certainly understanding."
Now if folks would just understand they need to slow down.
Reporter Ameera Butt can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.