Council approves traffic calming along Willowspring, Cerro

ENCINITAS — Neighbors living in the New Encinitas communities along Willowspring Drive and Cerro Street who have for years implored the council to slow traffic along the streets will at long last receive the relief.

The City Council voted unanimously on June 28 to install 47 speed-slowing devices known as “speed cushions” along the two busy neighborhood streets, part of a pilot program the city hopes will allow it to respond faster to community calls for traffic calming. 

“This pilot program is the best option towards trying to find a solution,” Councilman Joe Mosca said. 

Several neighbors came to the council meeting to urge the council to approve the project, which was on the consent calendar agenda — a list of items that the council typically approves without discussion. 

Many of the neighbors had been fighting for traffic calming since as early as 2011, when they formally started the city’s Neighborhood Traffic Management Program process.

According to city information, drivers heavily use Cerro and Willowspring as cut-through streets to avoid traffic on El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard and travel at speeds much faster than the 25-miles-per-hour neighborhood speed limits. More than 2,580 cars traverse Cerro at an average of 37 miles per hour each day, and 4,000 drivers use Willowspring traveling at speeds more than 35 miles per hour.

The city’s traffic management plan requires 67 percent of an effected neighborhood to endorse a traffic-calming plan by signing the petition in support of it. In the case of the Willowspring-Cerro traffic fix, that meant 67 percent of 1,345 parcel owners — a daunting task for proponents.

They failed, as most of the parcel owners did not respond to the petitions circulated.

The approved plan calls for the city to install the speed cushions along both streets and an all-way stop sign at the intersection of both streets. According to the staff report, the plan will cost about $90,000 and be put in place by February. 

City staff will conduct traffic studies along both streets and several adjacent streets three months and six months after the installation to determine the plan’s effectiveness. 

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