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Council agrees to increase pedestrian safety

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — City Council voted unanimously to install an all-way stop at the intersection of Mackinnon Avenue and Villa Cardiff Drive during its Jan. 14 meeting.
In response to the Cardiff School District superintendent’s request last year, city staff investigated ways to increase pedestrian safety. Accessing the east side and west side of Mackinnon Avenue can be a dangerous proposition according to city traffic engineers. Especially since the area is accessed mainly by school children during high traffic times of day.
The traffic commission supported an all-way stop at the intersection of Villa Cardiff Drive and Mackinnon Avenue during a November meeting citing the high volume of pedestrian traffic.
Currently, Villa Cardiff Drive has no stop sign while traffic moves along Mackinnon Avenue going southbound at the intersection. “We have quite a few children who use this cross to access Ada Harris Elementary,” City Engineer Rob Blough told the council. Cardiff Elementary is located to the west of the intersection.
“By providing a more safe route we may actually encourage more pedestrian activity,” Blough said. The winding streets contract and expand causing an incongruent roadway with dirt along some of the sidewalk path area left over from the freeway right-of-way.
“I don’t even attempt to walk my kids to school,” Jeff Parker, who lives east of the intersection, said. “There’s no real way to get across the street.”
“There’s really not much room to walk so people have made their own path to the Mackinnon bridge,” Blough told the council. “Many years ago we thought the bridge would be demolished but that never came to pass,” he said.
The volume of vehicles is high for a residential street but the concern is the pedestrian traffic.
The cost of two stop signs and sidewalk improvements on the east side of Mackinnon is approximately $12,000.
Todd Frazier, a Cardiff-by-the-Sea resident, told the council he supported the plan to install an all-way stop but that it fell short. “I believe this area should be designated as a school zone,” he said. As a school zone the speed limit would decrease. He also encouraged them to extend the crosswalk to the west side of Mackinnon Avenue.
John Cohen, whose children attend Ada Harris and Cardiff Elementary, said that the area between Birmingham Avenue and Santa Fe Drive is a “raceway.” “I think the pedestrian situation will continue even after these stop signs,” he said.
He said children dodge vehicles with no way to safely cross Mackinnon Avenue. “This is a stop gap that doesn’t take care of most pedestrian issues,” he said. He suggested closing Mackinnon Avenue as a through street.
“As far as closing that road, it isn’t as simple as it seems,” Blough said.
Deputy Mayor Dan Dalager motioned to approve installation of an all-way stop at the intersection. Councilman Jerome Stocks said that this would be a temporary measure but an improvement nonetheless.
“We’re starting improvements to help the neighborhood,” Mayor Maggie Houlihan said.