Potential roundabouts in Rancho Santa Fe being met with opposition

Potential roundabouts in Rancho Santa Fe being met with opposition
Proposed roundabouts in Rancho Santa Fe are drawing opposition from some residents. The rendering above shows a possible design for one of the roundabouts at Via de la Valle and La Fremontia. Image courtesy of County of San Diego

RANCHO SANTA FE — Jack Queen, former Rancho Santa Fe Association president, came to the Jan. 17 meeting to beseech the current board to think twice before approving the three proposed roundabouts slated for three intersections in the Covenant.“This is the most important decision you will make in your term,” Queen said. “This will forever change the entrance of Rancho Santa Fe.”Queen said he wants to make sure the board knows the full impact of the project.

“This is industrial size, nothing like the little ones in Encinitas and Solana Beach.”

Rendering of proposed roundabout at Via de la Valle and La Fremontia. Courtesy image

He urged the board to go in person to the sites and do further research before making up their minds.

“See the full impact this mother is going to have,” Queen said.

The traffic circles are planned for the intersections of Del Dios and El Camino Del Norte; Paseo Delicias and El Montevideo-La Valle Plateada; and Paseo Delicias and Via de la Valle.

Years in the planning, the final environmental impact reports will be available for view at the Association’s next meeting Feb. 7. Directors anticipating a large turn out have scheduled the regular 9 a.m. meeting at the Garden Club, which can accommodate more people.

“To this point, the board has not made a decision and none have weighed in with support or lack of support,” said Chris Livoni, associate planner.

They will probably wait until the meeting on February 7 to hear what the community has to say. At the meeting the board will consider whether to certify the findings of the EIR or not. No final decision to proceed on the project will be made.

Rendering of proposed roundabout at El Montevideo and La Valle Plateada. Courtesy image

Queen said considering what the Art Jury goes through to keep Rancho Santa Fe looking rural, the same standards should be applied to the roundabouts.

“This is the anti-thesis of rural. These will be big, permanent and ugly,” he said

Queen referred to the old adage of putting lipstick on a pig.

“It will still be a pig when we get done,” he said.

He urged to board to seek a more simple solution that could be instantly removed if it failed.

Resident Rory Kendall suggested that since the membership pays for public safety anyway, why not have an officer direct traffic two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.

“One of the simple solutions,” Queen said.

The idea behind the traffic circles is to slow cut-through traffic at peak hours. They are designed to function together as a system by

A rendering of the proposed roundabout at Camino del Norte. Courtesy image

requiring vehicles to slow, but not stop as they move through the intersections. Each will also be pedestrian and equestrian crosswalks. The roundabouts diameters will be 110 feet, include a 48-feet-to54-feet diameter central island, a 12-foot-to-15-foot wide truck apron and a 16-foot wide travel lane.

While the county will pay the entire cost of the traffic circles, the Association will provide landscaping for them.

All will have splitter islands to slow approaching traffic and align the vehicles to enter the circular flow of traffic. They will all also have center landscaped islands and pedestrian and equestrian crosswalks.

Still, the county will need additional right-of-way to construct the traffic circles and may get it through eminent domain.

In some cases, property owners will have the size of their front or side yards reduced or their driveways relocated, said Ivan Holler, Association planning director. Some trees will be removed.

The Association’s current traffic issues began more than 25 years ago when the city of Encinitas incorporated preventing the completion of Highway 680 which was to be a major east-west route just north of Rancho Santa Fe.

By 2000 the traffic increased to the point where the Association began looking for solutions. Solutions from installing traffic lights to moveable barricades were considered. In 2002, the county began considering traffic circles.

After years to work and planning, four Covenant-wide meetings, officials decided to take the roundabout route.

 

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  1. Emily Rose says:

    Good Morning. I work for the Center for Sustainability and Governmental and Regulatory Affairs at Pepperdine University. I have done research on roundabouts and there are some serious issues you are not addressing within your article. First, roundabouts eliminate the deadly T-bone collision by virtue of geometry. Roundabouts offer a soft circle drive that keeps traffic flowing, congestion and idling low, including increased fuel efficiency and the independence from traffic lights and energy, and people happy. These are not the rotary intersections people mistake for roundabouts being installed, but MODERN roundabouts that are highly efficient and environmentally friendly (trees, shrubs can be planted around and within the circle of the roundabout model). Rotary intersections are such that have caused Americans traveling in Europe to get anxious because they are often driving the opposite way they are used to, in a rental car, and in unfamiliar territory. Altogether that experience may be remembered with the idea of another “similar” seeming intersection. However, a modern roundabout is different and is an effective design that should be incorporated into neighbourhoods and will not detract from the beauty of the location it is installed, nor to the safety of its denizens.

  2. Reed Stephens says:

    I think some people need to find a more constructive use of their time than criticizing every new project or development that is proposed in Rancho Santa Fe and the coastal communities. These roundabouts are a perfect example. All you have to do is drive through the roundabouts on Santa Fe and Leucadia Blvd to find out how effective they are at moving traffic and allowing bikes and pedestrians to move about safely. Roundabouts WILL be effective if built on Hwy 101 between Encinitas Blvd and La Costa. They are already proven effective. Pull your heads out of the sand people.

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