4-way stop OK’d with resident funding

DEL MAR — When seeking approval for a project, it’s long been thought that you can’t fight City Hall, but no one ever said you can’t help fund it. That’s what a group of Del Mar residents discovered during a recent attempt to gain council support for an all-way stop sign at the intersection of Coast Boulevard and 18th Street.
Citing safety concerns, a Traffic and Parking Advisory Committee member who lives adjacent to the intersection requested a four-way stop be installed.
In a discussion of the project during a November 2009 meeting, it was noted that using the general fund reserve to pay for the traffic study and installation would decrease the projected year-end contingency to 10.01 percent. The minimum requirement for the contingency is 10 percent.
Council members directed staff to look at additional traffic calming devices. Six other alternatives were presented at a December meeting, but at $4,860, the all-way stop was the least expensive option. The others ranged in price from $6,000 to $150,000.
At that meeting, council authorized the four-way stop project to move forward, but only if residents agreed to fund it.
The intersection of Coast Boulevard at 19th and 20th streets is currently controlled by all-way stop signs. Because 18th Street is the first place motorists can turn around after passing Powerhouse Park, vehicles are regularly observed making U-turns at that intersection, the staff report states. Although U-turns are legal at that location, residents say they make the area unsafe. Pedestrians have difficulty crossing Coast Boulevard, cars often approach at high speeds and motorists tend to be distracted looking for parking spaces.
The all-way stop was recommended by the Traffic and Parking Advisory Committee and the traffic study concluded it was warranted. In addition to stop signs, the project will include stop-ahead pavement markings and signs, two stop legends plus stop bars. Crosswalk striping is not recommended.
Council unanimously granted final approval for the project as part of the consent calendar at the April 5 meeting. Work will begin once resident funding is received. The project is expected to be completed within 30 days, according to David Scherer, director of public works.

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