DEL MAR — City Council granted an encroachment permit to residents of Crest Road at the Oct. 3 meeting, paving the way to complete a traffic-calming project that was approved more than three years ago.
Several years ago, prompted by concerns from residents about speeding and cut-through traffic, the city studied options for slowing down cars and discouraging northbound commuters from using the route to bypass downtown Camino del Mar.
In May 2008 council members OK’d plans to install four chicanes along Crest between Amphitheatre Drive and 15th Street and reconstruct the Via Alta and Crest intersection.
The following year the city added one chicane and made the intersection changes but the rest of the project was not completed because of a lack of funding.
Since then about 10 property owners hired a contractor, received an estimate and contributed or pledged money to fund the project. Resident Harold Feder wouldn’t say how much has been collected, but he said there is enough to complete the job.
The estimated cost to the city to install the first chicane two years ago was $60,000.
Because it would be private construction on public property, an encroachment permit is required. Concerned about the liability, residents at the Oct. 3 meeting recommended donating the collected money to the city, which would then complete the job.
Officials said that would obligate the city to go to bid, which would likely delay the project at least six months and possibly increase the cost.
Feder said the goal is to have the remaining three chicanes installed and landscaped by the end of this year. Once that is done, the city will inspect the project.
If it meets all the standards of the various departments, including Fire, Planning and Public Works, council members said they will adopt a resolution to take over ownership and maintenance.
Mayor Don Mosier said not all Crest residents support the project. The city received letters or emails from six area property owners. Half wanted the project stopped, one asked for a continuance and two requested adjustments to the plans.
Most of the seven people who addressed council at the meeting said the traffic-calming measures aren’t perfect but they have seemed to slow traffic on the street.
“No traffic-calming device is perfect,” former Councilman and Crest resident Henry Abarbanel said. “These traffic safety devices are a serious step in the right direction.”