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Carlsbad addresses speed concerns on College Boulevard

CARLSBAD — The first step for traffic calming measures along College Boulevard between Carlsbad Village Drive and Cannon Road has been approved.

During its July 28 meeting, the Carlsbad City Council approved installing 11 speed-feedback signs on College Boulevard to help slow down speeding motorists, especially through the areas near three schools.

Staff also presented a number of alternatives to mitigate speeding, but ultimately the estimated costs were a concern. Councilwoman Cori Schumacher said the signs will allow the city to collect data regarding speeds, which will be passed to the Carlsbad Police Department, and the council can revisit the matter at a later date.

“Residents are not going to be satisfied with speed feedback signs,” she said. “It’s a good first step. With the speed feedback signs at this point, we can collect information if we need to have more physical changes.”

Traffic counts taken before the COVID-19 pandemic indicate that the average daily traffic is about 22,000 vehicles per day. Currently, the speed limit is 45 mph. Tony Frank, the city’s transportation director, said options for speed management include radar speed feedback signs and a redesign of the road segment with a lower speed, a single-lane road with roundabouts, two-lane roundabouts, a pedestrian bridge and speed tables and cushions to maintain an average speed of 35-40 mph.

Frank said the staff analysis recommends the speed feedback signs as it has the fewest unintended consequences. Additionally, the cost for the other options ranges between $1 million to $12 million, while the speed sign estimates come in between $160,000 to $195,000.

Information from the speed signs would be relayed to the CPD so it can patrol as necessary.

City staff analyzed various approaches to slow traffic on this stretch of roadway and are now recommending the city install permanent speed feedback signs along this segment but opted to go with the speed feedback signs.

Frank also discussed how the highway projects on Interstate 5 and the proposed plan for State Route 78 will influence traffic.

“Congestion maintains equilibrium and local streets will redistribute vehicles to an alternate route,” he said.

John Kim, a city traffic engineer, said College Boulevard is built to major arterial standards. He also discussed the collision rate, which is more than four times lower than the Caltrans state rate.

Over a five-year period analyzed by the city, there were 43 collisions, one involving a cyclist, and zero deaths, Kim said.

Improvements to the plan include supplemental signal indications, temporary speed feedback signs on College Boulevard near Rich Field, adult crossing guards at Tamarack Avenue and College Boulevard and additional pedestrian safety measures.

He said staff met with residents near Calavera Hills elementary and middle schools asking for yield signage, no right turns on red lights and to expand the scope of traffic calming measures between Carlsbad Village Drive and the northern city limits.