Speed limit changes headed to City Council

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Traffic and Public Safety Commission unanimously approved proposed speed limit changes along several local streets. 

Their vote advances the issues to the council, which will ultimately decide if speed limits fall on four streets and rise on three others. 

The commissioners said the speed changes were necessary to preserve the sheriff’s department’s ability to enforce speed limits.

Without periodically updated studies — a state requirement — the streets could be designated as “speed traps” and courts could toss out speeding tickets as a result. 

“I feel strongly we do have to go along with establishing the 85th percentile speed limit,” Commissioner Peter Kohl said. 

Several residents, however, urged the commission to vote against the proposal because it would raise speeds along two stretches of El Camino Real and a stretch of Requeza Street. 

On El Camino Real, the proposal raises speeds from 45 miles per hour to 50 miles per hour on the city’s northern edge and from 40 mph to 45 mph between Encinitas Boulevard and Santa Fe Drive. 

The residents questioned how raising the speed limit makes the streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. 

“Faster speeds on roads do not increase public safety,” Michael Vonneumann said. “If you raise the speeds, you do not have the safety of the public in mind.”

The updated speed study looked at the 85th percentile of speeds along a number of streets through the city. The City Council will now consider the following changes: 

• La Costa Coast Highway 101 to the eastern city limits from 40 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour. 

• Quail Gardens Drive between Leucadia and Encinitas boulevards from 40 mph to 35 mph.

• Saxony Road between Leucadia and Encinitas boulevards  from 40 mph to 35 mph. 

• Via Molena between Via Cantebria and El Camino Real from 35 mph to 30 mph.

• El Camino Real between the north city limits to Gardenview Road from 45 mph to 50 mph.

• El Camino Real between Encinitas Boulevard to Santa Fe Drive from 40 mph to 45 mph.

• Requeza Street between Interstate 5 and Westlake Street from 25 mph to 30 mph.

Other residents, including former Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer, praised the city for lowering the speed along Quail Gardens Drive and Saxony Road.

Residents have complained for years about motorists using the streets to bypass traffic on Interstate 5, and the city has responded by employing several traffic calming measures along both streets. 

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