Rancho Santa Fe – The overwhelming takeaway from Wednesday night’s meeting on traffic lights versus roundabouts was clear- most residents want signals. After lengthy presentations from Association staff and community members, straw poll results showed that of the 156 people in attendance only 11 supported roundabouts.
Wednesday’s meeting was called by the Rancho Santa Fe Association Board as a means to gauge community sentiment ahead of making a decision on how to handle the increasing number of vehicles commuting through the Covenant. Association staff presented an outline that highlighted the issues involved with each option. Issues that received the most scrutiny were property infringement, construction time and impacts, traffic flow efficiency and the aesthetics of each option.
After the staff report, RSF resident Sam Ursini gave an overview of research that he and a small group of community members undertook that he said reveals significant flaws in the roundabout option. In what he called his 10 Points of Interest, Ursini outlined what he felt were reasons to rule out the roundabout option. “We collected a lot of information and I’d like to present it to you…. and stick to the facts.”
Among the issues that Mr. Ursini discussed were the impact on traffic during the construction process and the impact that roundabouts would have on existing properties. While signalization would only have to widen the roads at some points, the roundabout option would require significant alterations to existing properties including the Village Church parking lot at the corner of Via De La Valle and Paseo Delicias.
Still, after much discussion about the deficiencies of roundabouts some residents spoke in favor of a traffic circle option. Rich Carlson, a former Intersection Committee member, spoke about his initial support of traffic signals but changed his mind after studying the roundabout option. “I spoke here a year ago, I spoke against roundabouts….Since then I have changed my mind. To me roundabouts are the only way to go.” Carlson said he changed his mind after seeing the roundabouts in Santa Clarita that allowed for a smooth and efficient flow of traffic and added a great aesthetic to the community. “If you see a roundabout while you are coming in or out of Rancho Santa Fe you are going to be seeing greenery, it’s really going to break up the visual.”
However, after a lot of deliberation the message was clear, only 11 out of the over 150 members in attendance preferred the roundabout option. Although the poll was not scientific, it gave Board members in attendance a better understanding of what the community preferred before they they make a formal decision.
Although some residents prefer not to have stop lights or roundabouts, what is clear is that the Association will have to take action. “The option of doing nothing is not on the table, this has gone on long enough” said Association staff member Larry Roberts. Explaining that if the Association does nothing the County will make a decision a decision for them.
Association Manager Bill Overton relayed those sentiments as the meeting came to a close. “What we have been told by the county is that they are going to make a decision. This (meeting) is an attempt to allow the community to weigh in and have an impact on that decision. I think that’s a positive thing.”