The Coast News Group

City considering all-way stop near Ocean Knoll Elementary

ENCINITAS — Every day, hundreds of elementary-school aged children cross Melba Road at the intersection of Evergreen Drive to get to Ocean Knoll Elementary School.

And every day they do it, parents and neighbors said their lives are put at risk.

“It’s a dangerous situation because you have an uncontrolled intersection, young kids who are learning how to manage walking across the street, and teenagers who are just learning how to drive,” said John Hoff, who lives on Evergreen Drive.

Hoff was one of two-dozen residents who recently signed a petition to have the city install an all-way stop sign at the intersection. The Encinitas Traffic and Public Safety Commission will consider the request at Monday’s meeting.

Melba Road currently has all-way signs at the intersections of Nardo Road, Bonita Drive and Balour Drive, but cars pick up speed through Evergreen and Aloha Drive, which currently only stop traffic going onto Melba Road.

City staff is recommending approval of the request, although the intersection narrowly misses the city’s minimum requirements for an all-way stop. They said the circumstances deem it necessary.

According to the staff report, city traffic engineers, during observations of the intersection, said that drivers don’t yield to pedestrians at the crosswalk, and that many times cars stop in red zones near the intersection and block the view of pedestrians and oncoming traffic, which creates a hazardous situation.

Many of the drivers at the intersection are high-school students at nearby San Dieguito High School Academy, some of who are driving for the first time.

Hoff, reached Thursday, said he believes the intersection, if left unchanged, will ultimately be the site of a tragedy.

“If they don’t put in a stop sign now, they will have to put one in eventually when a kid gets hit,” he said. “So I would say this is a good preventative measure.”

The Traffic and Public Safety Commission will consider the request at Monday’s meeting, and the City Council would vote on it at a later date.