City looks to streamline traffic calming process

City looks to streamline traffic calming process
The Traffic Commission in February voted for temporary measures to calm traffic on the stretch of Cornish Drive between Santa Fe Drive and D Street, but put some of the actions on hold as the city wrestled with how to overhaul the traffic management program. File photo

ENCINITAS — The way Encinitas officials respond to neighborhood calls for traffic and speed calming could change, if the City Council approves a new process that recently received the OK of the Traffic and Public Safety Commission.

Currently, neighbors who want certain traffic-calming measures such as speed bumps, flashing crosswalks, landscaped medians and other devices must go through a process known as the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program.

But officials and neighbors have long sought to overhaul the program, which takes years to navigate and results in very costly traffic projects.

The Traffic and Public Safety Commission voted 4-0 on Aug. 28 to recommend the council approve a streamlined “first tier” residential street traffic-calming process, which would allow for the city to respond faster to neighbors on streets with a documented need for the speed cushions, speed feedback signs and other less costly devices.

In the new program, a neighborhood could be eligible for consideration if they submit a petition with signatures from 10 households along either side of the affected street.

The city will then collect speed and traffic data for several weeks before determining whether to advance to the next step. If a street qualifies for speed cushions, the city will rank it by traffic volume and average speed, the more traffic or higher the speed, the higher a priority it becomes.

Next the city will work with neighbors to determine where to locate the speed bumps, and that final plan will then be put out to an advisory vote of neighbors. The city would require at least 75 percent of neighbors to respond and two-thirds of those to vote yes on the locations in order to proceed with funding the project.

Residents packed the Traffic Commission meeting to support the proposal, although a group of neighbors along Cornish Drive were divided on what measures the city should take to slow traffic on their street.

The Traffic Commission in February voted for a series of temporary measures to calm traffic on the stretch of the street between Santa Fe Drive and D Street, but put some of the actions on hold as the city wrestled with how to overhaul the traffic management program.

Cornish residents urged the city to do something about the speeding, but some residents were opposed to speed cushions. Some said they felt the cushions would create noise and divert Cornish’s traffic problems to other streets.

“When they put speed cushions on Orpheus, I avoided that street,” resident Kimberly Patton said. “I avoid them on Devonshire too, and when I do turn on Devonshire, I say ‘Shoot, why did I turn here?’

“So to have them on my very own street, I don’t think I am going to be happy,” Patton said.

Another resident, Shane Shelley, had an opposing opinion.

“I am a big proponent of speed humps, in fact I will pay for them,” Shelley said. “You could put them in front of my house.”

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