Traffic congestion is a concern in many regions of San Diego County, including Vista. It’s an issue Vistans are voicing their opinions about, and the city is prioritizing. For example, local nonprofit South Vista Communities has a focus on several issues to improve the quality of life for its residents, including traffic.
According to Stephanie Jackel, president of South Vista Communities, while they haven’t yet issued a specific statement about the traffic issue, it is on their radar.
That said, traffic concerns do transcend to those living outside of town.
“One of the big problems is that of cut-through traffic — commuters from other communities using East Vista Way, Melrose and Shadowridge to get through Vista,” she said. “We don’t see any way at present to do anything about this.”
According to Andrea McCullough, the communications officer for the city of Vista, the city’s Traffic Congestion Management Plan categorizes both long- and short-term answers to the issues of traffic congestion.
She did note that there is a cut-through-traffic issue, which she called “pass-through motorists.”
“Pass-through motorists have increased because Vista is strategically located between Highways 78 and 76 and drivers cut through the city to get to other local neighboring cities,” McCullough said. “The pass-through drivers are commuting along with Vista residents during the peak morning and evening travel times, and this is creating significant congestion.”
McCullough said that due to the limited opportunities to reassign whole or partial street lanes for other uses to manage traffic flow, the city continues to look for ways to maximize the effectiveness of its current roadway system. The outlines this and is aligned with the city’s current budget.
While meeting those budgetary guidelines, McCullough said the city is working on innovative and advanced ways to address traffic issues more effectively and efficiently.
“As the state and federal dollars that once leveraged key projects have eroded over the years, the city has tried to pave the way out of congestions by implementing innovative short-term construction solutions and mapping out long-term strategies that can be put into action when funding becomes available,” she said. “These factors are causing the city of Vista to become more innovative than ever before.”
McCullough went on to cite relatively inexpensive traffic improvements to current roads like adding a new travel turn lane on streets with extra space. She noted the addition of a third southbound “through-lane” on Civic Center Drive and Phillips Street. The reasoning behind these lanes, she said, is to accommodate vehicles moving into the right-turn lane to westbound Highway 78.
“The new lane is reducing the frequency of traffic back-ups in that area,” McCullough said. “Another method is to add lanes to existing streets to reduce congestion, and an example of this was along North Melrose Drive where a third lane in both directions was added by restriping the road to help move traffic more efficiently.”
Looking ahead to the next couple of years, the city of Vista has plans to install specialized technology to synchronize traffic signals.
“As an organization, the city is determined to deliver the best transportation infrastructure to its residents, not just for today, but far into the future,” McCullough said. “The more the city can leverage the current infrastructure assets it has today, the better the city will be able to provide the right infrastructure for the upcoming generation of residents.”