With no crosswalk or stop signs on Capri Road where it intersects Burgundy Road, pedestrians leaving Capri Elementary School have to hope that drivers see them and stop. Concerns about this dangerous intersection have been shared with the city of Encinitas for at least 16 years, but so far the city has taken no action. Photo by Carey Blakely
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City takes no action on dangerous intersection near Capri Elementary

ENCINITAS — “It is not a matter of if someone gets hit at this intersection but when,” concerned parent Scott Runmark said, referring to where Capri Road crosses Burgundy Road at the base of Capri Elementary School in Leucadia.

With no crosswalk or stop signs on Capri Road at its intersection with Burgundy, young students, parents and other pedestrians find themselves having to make a dangerous run for it — unaided by traffic-control mechanisms.

During the school drop-off and pick-up times, cars line up east- and westbound on Capri Road, awaiting their chance to turn into campus. Traffic grinds to a halt, prompting some motorists to illegally pass the waiting cars via the oncoming lanes.

Meanwhile, anyone trying to get to or from the school by crossing Capri where it intersects with Burgundy has to not only look out for traffic in both directions, but also for the vehicles illegally circumventing the waiting lines.

Adding to the danger is the fact that the intersection sits at the base of a hill, meaning that traffic on Capri can pick up speed as it heads west. Children walking behind stopped cars often cannot be seen because they are shorter than the heights of the vehicles.

Runmark shared that his wife’s attempts to bring the issue to the attention of the city of Encinitas have produced no action, nor have other letters of concern that date back 16 years.

“The city needs to prioritize Capri and our kids before someone gets severely hurt or killed,” Runmark said. “I cannot believe the city would not prioritize an elementary school for safety improvements after all these years.” His daughter is in first grade and walks with him or his wife, Angie, to school.

Both Runmark parents have experienced near misses at that intersection that they found both frightening and infuriating.

The Capri Elementary School Principal Carrie Lancon said she’s in a bind because while she’s very concerned about the intersection, she does not have the authority to ask school staff to direct traffic on city property.

“I fear that someone will get hurt, and yet I don’t have the right to directly intervene,” Lancon said, adding, “I’m limited to where the sidewalks end.” She has asked parents to arrive early, park elsewhere and walk in, bike or carpool.

Lancon’s requests for school volunteers to monitor the dangerous intersection have gone unmet. She also explained that she met with the city planner last year, who said that the city planned to install a crosswalk there, but nothing more came of the conversation.

Christy Tersolo, program assistant at Encinitas’ Traffic Engineering department, replied to one of Angie Runmark’s emails on Nov. 13, 2018, stating in part, “We are still currently looking into the possibility of installing a crosswalk at this intersection, but the issue is complicated by our need to comply with both the city’s municipal code and ADA regulations.”

This week the city stated via email that “staff are officially looking into this matter and are investigating possible solutions to this issue.” But no timeline has been set, and no additional details were shared.

When The Coast News presented the perils of the intersection to Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, she sent an email to city staff asking them to provide more information about what has been studied or documented there. As of the time of this writing, city staff had not followed up.

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10 comments

Kelly February 14, 2019 at 12:58 pm

If I had kids going there, I’d go out there at night and paint a cross walk. What’s the hold up?

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John February 14, 2019 at 3:32 pm

I can’t believe it – I complained to the City about this same intersection almost 9 years ago when my son attended Capri. Unbelievable that the city would not protect the children of Encinitas. This is shameful.

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Mike McGovern February 14, 2019 at 3:53 pm

Very dangerous intersection for kids and parents trying to get to and from Carpi Elementary! Cars coming down the hill are going way too fast. Hard to believe it does not at least have a speed bump after all of these years.

The city will make changes after someone gets hurt or killed and they sue the City for millions dollars. I feel sorry for the families that have to put their lives in danger everyday trying to get to and from school.

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Stacey Tyree February 14, 2019 at 5:57 pm

I am so thankful that this article has been published and pressure has been put on the city to finally act. I live on Burgundy Road and my husband and I have both had multiple near miss occasions where, as the author points out, cars are speeding and don’t see the children because they are shorter than the cars they are needing to pass through to cross.

Another issue I have seen is people walking to school with younger issues in strollers and needing to walk backwards because it’s too dangerous to push the stroller (and the young child) first where cars are speeding and often don’t slow down or stop.

Thank you Runmark family and Coast News for taking action! We hope this is the pressure the city needs to *finally* act to avoid a very dangerous situation for children.

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Concerned Neighbor February 14, 2019 at 6:05 pm

I could not agree with this article more. Been a long standing issue. Thank you for bringing more attention it.

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anonymous February 14, 2019 at 6:16 pm

Thank you for bringing this matter into light. As a neighbor of this intersection, I’ve seen this as an ongoing issue for years! Glad to see something being done about it!

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Jill Peterson February 15, 2019 at 7:13 pm

16 years with no action? I guess we now know how much the City of Encinitas values the safety of our children. I don’t have kids at this school but I can’t help but feel angry. I plan on contacting the Mayor Catherine Blakespear – let’s see if she cares about protecting our kids. I really hope the coast news stays on top of this issue and the City does the right thing.

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Neighbor February 15, 2019 at 9:46 pm

This is a huge problem for the neighborhood and school. It is really dangerous and seems obvious that it’s cheaper to put in a crosswalk or speed bumps than to deal with litigation down the road when somebody is injured and can show the city has been put on notice of the danger for years. The city’s priority should be to protect its citizens (especially children) and if it’s pure economics this frankly makes no sense. It is a short term resource issue with long term (and very critical) safety results.

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Ron Chambers February 16, 2019 at 6:41 am

Great. City is willing to spend $30million on streetscape to protect bikers but takes how long to protect our kids???? Seems like priorities are out of sync.

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Lani February 16, 2019 at 8:13 am

Thank you for publishing this article! We are tired of being ignored by the City on this issue. Capri Road needs speed bumps ASAP and this intersection needs to be fixed for the safety of our children.

Reply

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