CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — After a decade, residents of a small street finally won a victory to keep their neighborhood safe from speeding cars.
City Council voted 4-1 to approve the installation of speed cushions along Devonshire Drive. Councilman Jerome Stocks voted against the measure.
Speed cushions are currently not allowed as part of the city’s neighborhood traffic management plan. Speed humps have been used only as a means of last resort to calm traffic in other parts of the city.
Funds are available as $125,000 was received from Scripps Hospital as part of the expansion of the hospital’s master plan to calm traffic along Devonshire.
In October 2009, a petition was submitted to city officials with 77 percent of neighbors on the street supporting speed humps along Devonshire. Similarly, an earlier petition was submitted 10 years earlier by the same residents.
City Council declined to act on the request. Instead it requested more patrol by the Sheriffs Department.
The cushions function like regular speed humps but are designed to accommodate automobiles with a larger wheelbase, such as emergency response vehicles. They are vertically designed and have been shown in national studies to be effective in
slowing neighborhood traffic.
“There have been some installations locally in Solana Beach and Oceanside,” Engineering Director Peter Cota-Robles told the council. He reported that officials expressed satisfaction with the results the traffic calming measure.
“There is more traffic on Devonshire than you would see on similar streets,” Cota-Robles said. The peak morning and afternoon traffic with a lack of weekend traffic indicates that the majority of the increase is from nearby Scripps Hospital according to Cota-Robles. The street is considered a secondary access to the hospital should anything block Santa Fe Drive.
The traffic commission recommended inclusion of the speed cushions in the neighborhood traffic management plan. The cost of four speed cushions comes to $20,000.
Stocks questioned whether residents on surrounding streets were required to be considered because the measures might cause overflow traffic. Cota-Robles said the “minor” adjustment did not require support from residents on neighboring streets.
Deputy Mayor Maggie Houlihan said she has not heard any complaints from colleagues in cities with speed cushions. However, Stocks said the possibility of damage to vehicles was a deciding factor for his opposition vote. “I’ve always had a policy of never voting for speed bumps on public roads,” he said.
Diane Bond, a Devonshire resident, said neighbors were fed up with delays. “We’ve been going through this for 11 years and this council has not been able to find a solution for us and we’re tired of it,” Bond said.
After waiting for a traffic calming study and a Scripps master expansion approval she said time was up for solutions. “Our children are 10 years older,” she said, alluding to the constant delays in implementing traffic calming measures on Devonshire.
“It just does seem like the run around,” said Gina Renteria, a resident on the street. She said the money was available from Scripps, residents are supportive and the time is long overdue. “I do feel like this is a good solution,” she said.
Tim Dillon brought some of his family to show support for the speed cushions. He said the increase in foot traffic makes the automobile traffic calming measures even more necessary. “I hear these cars that are going 50 miles per hour,” he said.