About three years ago in late 2016, a person or group calling itself the RSF Traffic Safety Coalition sued the County of San Diego in an attempt to overturn the County’s decision to install roundabouts on three busy eastern Rancho intersections and instead force them to install traffic lights. The County had decided on roundabouts after the Association held a vote of all Rancho Santa Fe residents and we voted 74% to 23% for roundabouts after a very thorough airing of issues in the RSF Post (35 articles were written on the issue!).
The County and the Coalition settled last year, but as part of the settlement, the County agreed to study the use of turn restrictions instead of building either traffic lights or roundabouts. This resulted in a County proposal for turn restrictions and you can download the Association’s staff analysis of the turn restriction proposal.
At last Thursday’s October 3rd Board meeting, the County was in attendance to gauge public sentiment. Ten people stood up to speak against turn restrictions, many very eloquent and heartfelt. In addition, the Board stated that they had received 37 emails, almost all against the proposal, with the only positive emails stating it was conditional on Rancho residents having permits to ignore the restrictions (which isn’t legal under CA law).
RSF Patrol Chief Wellhouser gave a presentation outlining Association’s staff recommendation to oppose the proposal. In a nutshell, the arguments against were that turn restrictions tend to be ignored without constant monitoring, giving local residents permits to get around the restrictions isn’t legal, the restrictions would also impact Patrol response times, and finally, it would only throw traffic onto other streets and not actually help anything.
In the end, the RSF Board voted to recommend that the County reject turn restrictions.
The Real Issue: Traffic
Of course, the real issue here is rush hour cut through traffic. In the morning, commuters pack Del Dios coming from Escondido and points east heading for the coast, while the reverse happens in the late afternoon.
The proposed roundabouts will help a bit by allowing traffic to flow better. To that end, RSFA directors Dunn and Sapp are due to meet with at least one County Board of Supervisors to see what is the hold up regarding funds. During the meeting someone mentioned that they believed that Cielo and Crosby developments had earmarked funds towards roundabout construction costs.
The bottom line is that unless more circulation roads are built, traffic will continue to accumulate on our small country roads. Read this companion article for a proposal which would actually reduce the number of commuters on our roads. You can discuss this and other traffic related issues here.