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Speed limits reduced in Solana Beach

SOLANA BEACH — Life will slow down a bit in Solana Beach after council members voted unanimously at the Oct. 14 meeting to reduce the speed limits on various streets throughout the city. The move is a result of a speed survey conducted in conformance with the California Vehicle Code, which requires surveys every five to 10 years.
An updated survey was required because actions taken since the last survey in 2002 — street realignments and the adoption of a golf cart ordinance — impacted traffic patterns on some roads.
Darnell and Associates Inc., which conducted the survey using traffic and roadside conditions, actual prevailing speeds and accident records, evaluated 38 locations. The results indicated a need to reduce the speed limit on Lomas Santa Fe Drive between Interstate 5 and Highland Drive from 45 mph to 40 mph; Highland between Lomas Santa Fe and San Lucas Drive from 40 mph to 35 mph; Marine View Drive/San Andres Drive between Las Banderas Drive and Solana Drive from 40 mph to 35 mph and South Cedros Avenue between Lomas Santa Fe and Via de la Valle from 30 mph to 25 mph.
The speed limit on Santa Helena from Lomas Santa Fe to Helena Park Court was reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph last year when the golf cart ordinance was adopted, however signage was never adjusted. That will be updated as a result of the survey.
A posted speed limit of 30 mph will be established on Las Banderas from Lomas Santa Fe to San Andres. Two areas that also do not currently have posted speed limits were surveyed because they were added to the federal aid map, although Ed Krulikowski, principal engineer at Darnell, said it was unlikely the city would receive federal funds should those roads require improvements.
The speed limit on Sun Valley Road between Santa Helena and Highland will be set at 25 mph. On North Cedros Avenue from Lomas Santa Fe to Cliff Street the recommended speed was 30 mph, but council members and at least one resident said that seemed too fast.
“We’re trying to develop business down in that area,” Gary Martin said, noting there’s no shoulder or sidewalk along North Cedros. “We don’t want to have higher speeds there. And establishing 30 (mph) would be inconsistent with what we’re trying to do, I think, as a city to make that a more walkable area.”
Councilman Tom Campbell said with the train station parking lot, pedestrian traffic, school and lack of a shoulder or sidewalk, a higher speed limit doesn’t make sense. “It’s a disaster waiting to happen,” he said.
Krulikowski said new rules developed by the California Department of Transportation that went into effect July 1 dictate how speed limits are set and differ from national standards. He said under the old rules, North Cedros likely would have qualified for a 25 mph speed limit.
“I don’t know what Caltrans was thinking but it doesn’t really help local conditions that much,” Krulikowski said.
Council directed staff to review that area and consider implementing traffic calming measures similar to those used successfully to lower speeds on South Cedros Avenue.
When the original survey was conducted in July, a 5 mph increase was recommended on Stevens Avenue between Lomas Santa Fe and San Rodolfo Drive. When the area was resurveyed Oct. 13, the recommendation was to maintain the current 30 mph limit.
Martin and council members again said that was too fast for the area. “As you turn the right-hand corner heading south on Stevens, it’s sort of a downhill shot and people go really fast there,” Martin said. “We ought to be thinking about trying to slow people down because you naturally want to go faster as you turn that corner.”
Council directed staff to review that area as well to possibly lower the limit to 25 mph.