Op ED: The Case for Roundabouts


Some were surprised by the Association Board vote in favor of traffic lights in Rancho Santa Fe. The lights will be installed quickly, probably in the next year, and will change the look of the town forever. Each of three intersections must have four 35′ high street lights. Roundabouts were recommended by the RSFA Intersection Committee by a 6-1 vote; the Board ignored the recommendation. The vote was influenced heavily by the turnout at the recent poorly-advertised information meeting, held at 5:30 PM, a time difficult for many residents to attend, where 150 people showed up, many not even residents of The Covenant. For example, the Briggs were there; they moved away 6 years ago.

New RSFA manager Bill Overton allowed two stop light proponents to insert a slide show into the RSFA presentation. The meeting was well attended by those in favor of lights, especially those whom The Village Church asked to attend. Overton asked who was in favor of roundabouts, who was in favor of status quo, and then subtracted that number from 150. He then announced that 75% were in favor of lights. The Briggs, who moved out of the community about six years ago, were counted as a yes vote. Most people were there merely to learn more, but got counted as a vote for lights. Many felt like they were in a Chicago Union meeting.

Many of us favor roundabouts for their low lights, 40% less pavement, continuous traffic flow and country feel. The people at the meeting just wanted a quick fix and the Board mentioned they agreed with that. We would all be OK with that if the community favors that approach. Traffic lights are forever. It seems that after voting for undergrounding utilities, a school and a community center, roundabouts should be decided by community vote. Where is the transparency advocated by the new Board?

Learn more and sign a Petition for Covenant-wide vote at:

For more than 10 years, Board after Board voted for roundabouts and allocated $125,000 for designs, an amount matched by the County. The kinks were worked out — safe demand-crossings for pedestrians and equestrians; minimal loss of neighbors’ land; a net INCREASE in parking for the Village Church via the realignment of Las Colinas intersection with Via de la Valle; non-shedding low lighting around the roundabouts.