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Speed limit lowered along stretch of Del Mar road

DEL MAR — Council members decided to slow things down in Del Mar, voting 4-0 at the Oct. 6 meeting to reduce the speed limit on Camino del Mar from 35 mph to 30 mph between the San Dieguito Bridge and 27th Street and from 35 mph to 25 mph between 27th Street and Coast Boulevard.

Cities must conduct traffic surveys every five to seven years, or after significant changes to a roadway, to comply with California Vehicle Code requirements.

Although Del Mar performed a citywide survey in 2012, recent improvements to the Beach Colony warranted an update for that area.

“(T)raffic calming and pedestrian safety improvements … have resulted in a reduction in the prevailing speeds,” Public Works Director Eric Minicilli said.

Ryan Zellers, the city’s traffic engineer, recommended lowering the speed limits on those stretches of Camino del Mar in a September report, which the Traffic and Parking Advisory Committee supported.

“I think it’s also positive that the improvements that have been made on the sidewalks and the streetscape in that area have resulted in a safer speed limit and calming effect of the traffic,” Councilman Terry Sinnott said. “It gives us hope for the future in other areas of the city.”

Councilman Al Corti echoed that thought, noting the upgrades allowed the city “to get the speed limit back down to an enforceable speed, which the community really wanted.”

“I think that’s important because as we go through other streetscape improvements that we’re looking at in town, or the sidewalk improvements, I believe that there are things that we can do — physical improvements — that will allow us to reduce the speed back to where we want,” he added.

Corti said motorists often drive faster than the posted limit “because the roadway is designed to accommodate that speed.”

He said he would like to look at improvements other than speed bumps in areas where the speed limit is excessive to potentially garner similar results.

“I think it’d be great to have a 25-mile-an-hour speed limit in Del Mar,” Corti added.

Councilman Don Mosier said he noticed the pedestrian crosswalk at 25th Street is now more heavily used as a result of upgraded lighting features and signage that were part of the Beach Colony improvements.

“When you look at traffic there’s sort of a biphasic speed, which probably reflects either there’s somebody in the pedestrian crosswalk or not,” he said. “And often you see people from out of town stop at the pedestrian crosswalk whether there’s anybody in it or not or when the lights are flashing, so it’s like a de facto stop sign.

“So I have no problem reducing the speed limit since I think if you watch the traffic behavior, particularly on weekends when there’s a lot of traffic, it’s moving really pretty slowly,” Mosier added. “And of course every rush hour going north around 5 p.m. (the) average speed is 5 miles an hour.”

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