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Carlsbad City Hall. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Carlsbad addressing traffic concerns

CARLSBAD — Several major traffic corridors in the city are on track for major improvements to address deficient streets according to the city’s Growth Management Plan.

The City Council approved several staff recommendations Dec. 17 regarding eight street deficiencies.

Paz Gomez, deputy city manager for public works, said College Boulevard from Aston Avenue to Palomar Airport Road and Melrose Drive from the Vista city limits to Palomar Airport Road will be expedited within the Capital Improvement Program project schedule.

Others, though, are exempted for several reasons, according to Hossein Ajideh, the city’s engineering manager.

The cost estimates range between $565,000 to $600,000, although those projections may change once staff returns later this year with a full scope of the projects, according to the staff report.

“We did want to look at future performance standards because we see a growing number of deficient streets,” Vice Chair Traffic and Mobility Commission Jonnie Johnson said of her commissions review of the staff report.

As for the exempted streets, Gomez said the GMP Monitoring Report collects data and will analyze and present to the council. The city monitors 43 sites, even if they are exempt, she added.

Gomez said travel times are also monitored during peak hours, such as rush hour in the morning and evening, along with working with a consultant to develop measures of performance.

The level of service (LOS) for vehicle traffic must be a “D” grade or better and includes freeways, arterials, arterial connectors and industrial streets, Ajideh said.

He said data was collected in fall 2018 showing eight deficient streets including north and southbound El Camino Real from Marron Road to the Oceanside border; north and southbound El Camino Real between College Boulevard and Cannon Road; east and westbound Cannon Road between College Boulevard and El Camino Real; and the previous two stretches discussed by Gomez.

Ajideh requested exemptions, which were granted, for all but the two areas discussed by Gomez as adding lanes was not recommended due to the number of lanes already in place for each.

Without any action, all would be below the “D” standard, according to the staff report and only the College Boulevard to Aston Avenue stretch would be upgraded (to a “B”).

“Staff recommends adding a second southbound through lane,” Ajideh said of the College Boulevard and Aston Avenue intersection. “The road would be widened to accommodate a second southbound through lane. By adding an additional southbound through lane, level of service ‘D’ would be met.”

As for Melrose Drive, the city would add a southbound right turn lane and re-stripe existing lanes to create a third southbound through lane; although those improvements are not expected to meet LOS ‘D,’ he said.

Ajideh said Senate Bill 330, the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, may affect the city’s ability to address street deficiencies as the bill may impact Carlsbad’s, and all cities’, ability to prohibit development permits under the GMP. Developers in Carlsbad are also required to address traffic mitigation plans for those projects.

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