CARLSBAD — Traffic concerns along three major roadways were addressed Sept. 24 and staff is moving forward with more research to find optimal methods to calm traffic.
The city is looking at several areas for improvement including College Boulevard from Carlsbad Village Drive to Sage Creek High School; Tamarack Avenue from Skyline Road to Carlsbad Boulevard; and Carlsbad Boulevard from the Agua Hedionda trailhead to State Street, according to Paz Gomez, deputy city manager for pubic works.
The item returned to the council for its Sept. 24 meeting after hearing the issue during its June 11 meeting, which also saw the council deny the installation of a stop sign at Tamarack Avenue and Valley Street as it was deemed to be not appropriate for the intersection.
The council approved options for physical extensions, such as curb extensions, roundabouts, restriping and others for the College Boulevard segment.
“This would be above and beyond what is in the Mobility Plan, currently,” said Councilwoman Cori Schumacher.
“We’ll do an analysis of the pros and cons of each in the event it’s not included in the Mobility Element,” City Manager Scott Chadwick added.
Numerous tools can be applied to traffic calming such as speed cushions and tables, raised crosswalks, traffic circles, chicanes or by narrowing lanes through striping or curb extension, said John Kim, acting city traffic engineer.
The challenge he said, is that Carlsbad and College boulevards and Tamarack Avenue are not considered residential streets. He said the strategies staff used were based on recommendations through the General Plan Mobility Element.
On Carlsbad Boulevard, staff recommended improvements at Hemlock, Cherry, Maple, Sycamore and Oak avenues, along with at the Army and Navy Academy. Those upgrades will include curb extensions (where feasible), pedestrian-activated in-pavement flashing lights and paint bike lanes in green, Kim said.
College Boulevard, meanwhile, is an arterial street with a speed limit of 45 mph and averages 22,000 vehicles per day. Kim said the recommendation would be to install six to eight speed feedback signs.
The signs, he said, can record a vehicle’s speed and the time of day. Mayor Matt Hall said the information would be shared with the Carlsbad Police Department, while Kim added the police department could enforce more traffic patrols.
Schumacher said there have been several serious collisions and people have relayed concerns for their lives.
“I’d be curious to see the alternatives that are physical changes, like chicanes and the bulb outs,” she added. “We need to do our job to protect them.”
Hall said he wanted to see the data to drive the decision followed by increasing the police’s presence along College Boulevard.
Police Chief Neil Gallucci said from September 2018 through September 2019 zero serious collisions, three minor collisions and 11 non-injury collisions were reported. He said over the years the roadway has changed as it is now open from Oceanside, plus the addition of Sage Creek, although the department maintains a “regular” presence because it is a major arterial.
“There’s a motor officer assigned to every school in the city,” Gallucci said. “It’s not just the police officers out there. It’s the crossing guards, the senior volunteers, the 360 the city does to increase traffic safety.”
On Tamarack Avenue, it is classified as a neighborhood connector with a speed limit of 30 mph. Kim said the intersection at Valley Street would include curb extensions and remove the beacon signal and install a hybrid pedestrian signal.