RANCHO SANTA FE — The Rancho Santa Fe Association board acted upon the Road and Traffic Committee’s recommendation to send a letter to Caltrans requesting a comprehensive study be conducted to reduce traffic congestion in the Ranch. Traffic trying to avoid delays on I-5 during morning and afternoon commutes frequently cut through the Covenant, primarily at La Bajada/La Noria/El Camino Real. The Road and Traffic Committee has proposed solutions to Caltrans to help remedy these commuter problems.
One congestion point identified by the Road and Traffic Committee is the on-ramp at Manchester Avenue and I-5. In the morning, vehicles line up and experience long waits to enter the freeway headed southbound. Frustrated motorists frequently turn to alternative routes, such as taking La Bajada through the Covenant and eventually reconnecting with the I-5 at either Lomas Santa Fe or Via de la Valle. By simply changing the ramp meter to cycle traffic onto the freeway more quickly, vehicles wouldn’t have to wait in long queues on Manchester Avenue. This could be implemented immediately and with little cost.
The other proposal is more long-term and would come at considerably more cost: adding an additional right turn lane from westbound Manchester to the southbound I-5 onramp and eventually an entire additional lane to accommodate a carpool lane. This would also improve onramp capacity.
These traffic congestion problems not only impact Rancho Santa Fe commuters but Encinitas commuters as well. “I have spoken with the officials in Encinitas and they are very supportive of this,” Ivan Holler, Covenant adminstrator, said. “They will be cc’ed (carbon copied) on the letter.”
“Caltrans is a very autonomous agency,” President Lois Jones said with a shrug.
“Yes, but it’s important to get a dialogue started,” Holler said. The board voted unanimously to propose these solutions to Caltrans.
Holler also informed the Association board that the county of San Diego has released an Environmental Impact Report regarding the Rancho Santa Fe Roundabouts Project. The county proposes to construct three roundabouts in the Ranch along Paseo Delicias — one at El Camino del Norte; one at Del Dios Highway; and one at El Montevideo/La Fremontia. The objective of the roundabouts is again to ease congestion primarily caused by traffic travelling eastbound and westbound during peak commuter traffic periods. Improved safety for pedestrian and equestrian crossings at the three intersections is also an objective.
The Environment Impact Report is now open for comments, which must be received no later than Dec. 1, 2008. Comments should be sent to Julia Quinn by mail at 5469 Kearny Villa Road Suite 305, San Diego, CA 92123. The Planning Committee will also meet Nov. 20 to discuss and review the roundabout proposals. Jones said she expected the meeting to be crowded. Holler has requested that drawings done to scale be available for the upcoming meeting to help residents visualize the completed project.