Ranch gets ready for roundabouts

RANCHO SANTA FE — The San Dieguito Planning Group met at the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Station on Nov. 20 for an open forum to discuss the Rancho Santa Fe roundabouts. Several members of the community attended, as did Covenant Administrator Ivan Holler and Associate Planner Liz Avalon.
Three roundabouts are proposed in Rancho Santa Fe along Paseo Delicias at the following intersections: El Montevideo and La Valle Plateada; Via de la Valle and La Fremontia; and El Camino del Norte.
Traffic is heavy along Paseo Delicias during morning and afternoon commutes between Interstate 15 and Interstate 5. Long queues develop at these intersections and, to avoid long waits, some motorists divert off onto residential roadways causing other conflicts and often making it difficult for residents to enter their driveways. Signalized intersections have been discussed as an alternative, but roundabouts look to be a more effective and efficient solution.
An Environmental Impact Report from the county of San Diego Department of Public Works is currently available for residents to review. The comment period was to end Dec. 1, but due to the holidays, has been extended until Dec. 8.
There was scepticism by some members of the Planning Group regarding how effective roundabouts would be, citing the small roundabouts already in place in surrounding communities such as Encinitas and Solana Beach.
“These roundabouts would be much larger,” Holler said. “They would be 110 feet wide with a 15-foot travel lane. They are designed to let big rigs get around them.”
According to Holler, on Nov. 22, two of the sites for the proposed roundabouts will be staked out to give the community an opportunity to see just how large they will be and how they will function. “Pedestrian and equestrian crossings are at least 20 to 30 feet from the diameter of the roundabouts,” he said. To aid pedestrian and horse crossings, special lighting has been designed. Push button crossing controls would activate in-pavement lighting and flashing warning signs and a safety island would be installed to enable pedestrians to pause between the lanes of traffic. “When you push a button to cross, all lights are activated,” Holler said. New landscaping would also be installed at each of the new roundabouts.
Holler said that some land would need to be acquired, but that all the permits are in place and have been approved.
The roundabouts will be placed on the general planning item for the next San Dieguito Planning Group meeting scheduled Dec. 4. A draft of the EIR is available online at www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dpw.

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