OCEANSIDE — Residents expressed traffic safety concerns at the April 21 council meeting after Caltrans planted a sign that announced Jefferies Ranch Road will be closed in May, due to fast-moving traffic on State Route 76 and the lack of a stoplight. This will leave the community of approximately 8,000 in Jefferies Ranch with one main road to connect them with SR 76.
“We’re doomed, we’re trapped rats,” John Holtman, a Jefferies Ranch resident, said. “We need another exit.”
Melrose Drive will be the only road out. Dana Corso, a Jefferies Ranch resident, said that one accident on Melrose Drive and SR 76 delayed traffic into Jefferies Ranch for two hours. A bigger emergency has Corso and others worried. “There will be pandemonium when there is a fire,” Corso said.
The city is taking a two-pronged approach to finding a way to ease traffic entering and leaving the community. City Council voted 3-1 on April 21 to fund exploration of roadways that can be built to connect the community with SR 76. In addition to exploring road options, Mayor Jim Wood will work with Caltrans to see if a stoplight can be installed at Jefferies Ranch Road and SR 76 so Jefferies Ranch Road can remain open.
Councilman Jerry Kern cast the no vote on spending $75,000 to explore possible roadways. Kern tried to persuade council to go forward with extending Melrose Drive to North Santa Fe Avenue and give the community an exit south. “Melrose is close to happening, lets put our money there,” Kern said. “With Melrose we can have our second exit and can actually solve the problem in one year to 18 months.”
The council majority supported further exploration of possible roadways and the possibility that a stoplight can be installed at Jefferies Ranch Road and SR 76.
A stoplight is planned to be installed just 100 yards away from the intersection of Jefferies Ranch Road and SR 76 to ease traffic flow to a tomato packing plant. Wood said he will request that Caltrans install the light at the road and state route intersection.
If the light is not relocated and Jefferies Ranch Road is closed, a community process of looking at road access options will begin. The process will include community meetings, road design and request for proposals from builders before construction of a road starts.