ENCINITAS — Students who attend Flora Vista Elementary, 1690 Wandering Road, should soon be able to walk and bike more safely to and from school, thanks to a $331,200 project to construct Gardendale Road Traffic Calming and Safe Routes to School improvements approved by the Encinitas City Council on Dec. 19.The construction project combines innovative traffic calming tools designed to increase drivers’ awareness of pedestrians, decrease pedestrians’ crossing distance and exposure to traffic, and reduce traffic speeds.
The Gardendale project breaks ground in late January 2013 and should be completed by April 2013. The bulk of project costs are funded by a federal Safe Routes to School grant. In addition to construction, the funding covers a $24,750 agreement with nonprofit Walk San Diego to provide education and encouragement activities to the Flora Vista community. Project details are in this agenda report.
Construction will occur along Gardendale Road at the intersections with Glen Arbor Drive, Hummock Lane, Aspenglow Drive, Village Center Drive, Clear Valley Road and Mountain Vista Drive, as well as at Aspenglow Drive/Splitrail Drive. Construction will not significantly impact travel for residents and motorists. Roads will remain open, driveway access will be maintained at all times and traffic control devices will be in place while work is being performed. After the improvements have been in place for a few months, the City will monitor the area to measure traffic improvements.
The Gardendale project will significantly enhance the safety of area pedestrians, especially Flora Vista youngsters. Curb pop-outs at corners, basically large sidewalks such as those currently installed downtown on D and E Streets at Vulcan Avenue, will reduce the distance needed to cross the street.
To enhance motorists’ visibility of pedestrians and force motorists to slow down, speed tables also will be installed at intersections along the route. These elements, an example of which can be found near Cardiff Elementary School, 1888 Montgomery Ave., consist of 1–foot-wide raised crosswalks that are six inches above grade.
According to Associate Civil Engineer Christy Villa, the project emanated from neighborhood residents’ concerns about speeding along Gardendale Road, primarily from Glen Arbor Drive to Mountain Vista Drive, due to a significant presence of children and other pedestrians along the route.
“The project was put forward by residents,” she said. “It met the criteria stipulated in our Encinitas Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (ENTMP), which was developed specifically to give residents a voice in traffic management where they live. Projects are initiated by one or more citizens, who must gain the approval of a majority of their neighbors in the vicinity.
“The ENTMP was piloted in 2010 in the Cardiff Elementary neighborhood and involved a variety of traffic calming tools, from raised sidewalks to traffic circles,” she said. “It was very well-received. We expect the Gardendale project to be equally successful.”
Explaining that the ENTMP enables the city to respond to specific traffic concerns in neighborhoods, Villa said, “Residents have the opportunity to tell us what they need. Then we can engineer it.”