Oceanside — A previously approved traffic light for Rancho del Oro Drive and Cameo Drive will be reinstalled, following a 3-2 vote by city council on April 6, in which Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted no.
The traffic light originally approved for Rancho del Oro Drive was taken down after strong community protest several years ago. A promise was made to residents that it would not be reinstalled.
“The light was approved by the Planning Commission and then it was removed without a vote of the council,” Councilman Jack Feller said. “That’s really not how we do things.”
The need for the light to be reinstalled was considered after a traffic flow study for the nearby Veterans Administration clinic found a light was warranted.
“The VA hospital doesn’t even mention that street to get to the facility,” community resident Maggie Conant said. “I don’t understand the necessity of it.”
Twenty-one speakers came forward to protest the light. Most said the present stop sign on the four-lane road is sufficient. An informal door-to-door neighborhood survey found that only 1 in 200 residents wanted the light.
“It’s a quiet out of the way community,” resident Susie Coker said. “We love our stop signs.
“What we heard tonight is that the neighborhood didn’t want it for several reasons,” Wood said. “A promise was made and our budget is tight.”
There were also concerns that a traffic light would cause drivers to speed up to beat the red light.
“It’s absolute crap to hear stop signs are safer than signals,” Councilman Gary Felien said. “Experts who analyze these intersection say a signal is needed for safety. A four-lane road with a medium down the middle is not a neighborhood street.”
The city traffic engineer concurred that a traffic light is the best bet to control traffic.
“A traffic signal is probably the safest control device you can install,” David DiPierro, city traffic engineer, said.
The $40,000 to install the light will be put in next year’s capital improvements projects budget.