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City OKs traffic calming project

SOLANA BEACH — In response to community concerns about traffic, City Council unanimously approved at the Feb. 10 meeting several projects to address unsafe driving and make city streets more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
“Traffic is an important issue to our community,” said City Manager David Ott, who, along with other staff and council members, met with residents. “Over the years there’ve been numerous issues usually associated with speeding through neighborhoods,” he said.
One project on South Cedros Avenue will add 6-foot-wide painted medians on both sides of Marsolan Avenue and a slightly wider center median where the street opens up south of Marsolan. Public Works Director Mo Sammak said that is where motorists tend to increase speed. Narrowing the road should slow them down, he said.
A center turn lane will be added from Cofair Avenue to Via de la Valle. Curb pop-outs will also be painted at the intersection of South Cedros and Via de la Valle. Proposed improvements to the area were rejected by South Cedros residents early last year, primarily because they included angled parking. City staff worked with the community to develop the current plans.
For improved safety, another project recommends a “road diet” for Valley Avenue between Stevens Avenue and Via de la Valle. Despite heavy use by pedestrians and bicyclists, that stretch of roadway currently has no bike lanes and a sidewalk on the west side only. Plans include reducing the street to one lane in each direction and adding bike lanes and a two-way left turn lane. According to a traffic study, Valley can accommodate current traffic volumes as a two-lane road. In fact, part of it was successfully narrowed to that configuration during construction of the pump station.
Despite requests to lower the speed limit on Las Banderas Drive between San Andres and Lomas Santa Fe drives, the city is unable to do so based on a speed survey.
To encourage motorists to slow down, the road will be restriped with a 10-foot center turn lane. Existing parking lanes will remain, but the road width will narrow.
Several road striping projects will also be implemented throughout the city at areas that were chosen “because of their strategic locations and the specific concerns addressed by members of the community,” the staff report states.
Crosswalks at Lomas Santa Fe and the Las Banderas/Via Mil Cumbres intersection will be restriped. The left-turn pocket onto Via Mil Cumbres from eastbound Lomas Santa Fe will also be repainted with a small adjustment to soften the turn.
Midblock crosswalks will be repainted on Las Banderas near the golf course and on South Sierra Avenue at Fletcher Cove Park and near the access to Seascape Beach. The improvements, which were all approved 6-0 by the Public Safety Commission, are estimated to cost $15,000 to $25,000.
Andy Meyer, who lives on South Cedros, said walking the roadway with his two young children “is downright dangerous at times due to the speed of the traffic, the lack of sidewalks, the parked cars and all the rest.”
“This would be a really valuable addition to our neighborhood,” he said.
To cut costs and allow for future modifications if needed, the city opted to paint the roadways rather than install raised medians.
“When we see a better economy we’ll be able to do something a little more attractive,” Councilwoman Lesa Heebner said.