The Coast News Group

Road speeds set to change on 13 city streets

OCEANSIDE — Heads up drivers, road speeds are set to change on 13 Oceanside city streets.

The City Council approved speed limit changes Feb. 3 for more than a dozen city streets, including some speed increases to make tickets enforceable.

Teala Cotter, city associate traffic engineer, said speed surveys of streets are done regularly to ensure correct speeds are posted.

“This is the third round in the last two years, and we have more coming,” Cotter said.

Police Sgt. Rich Shickel said drivers set local street speeds, which are determined by the average travel speed of 85 percent of vehicles on the road.

Roads with posted speeds set at 50 percent or less than the surveyed average are considered “speed traps,” and issued tickets on those roads are not enforceable in court.

Traffic collision counts and residential density are also taken into consideration when setting road speeds.

One road that will see a speed increase from 40 to 45 miles an hour is College Boulevard, from Thunder Drive to Roselle Drive.

Shickel said vehicles are currently driving as fast as 65 miles per hour on the road.

“Frankly that’s not acceptable in my opinion,” Shickel said.

An enforceable posted speed will help ensure pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle safety on the road.

Shickel added he expects an initial increase in tickets on College Boulevard after the new speed is posted, and drivers learn that it will be enforced.

“We are going to have quite a few violators in the area, that will decrease very rapidly,” Shickel said.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voiced her support for the speed changes. She said she has seen tickets thrown out of local courts.

Sanchez estimated 300 tickets a day may be issued on College Boulevard, while drivers get used to the enforced speed.

“This will stop the real bad speeders,” Sanchez said.

Councilman Chuck Lowery supported speed changes, but voiced concerns about traffic on College Boulevard.

“Cars are already driving way too fast out there,” Lowery said. “I can’t imagine drivers will get the message. Cars will go back to driving 65 in a 45 mile per hour zone.  It’s just a Band Aid.”

The Planning Commission recommended speed changes in a 5-2 vote in October 2015. Commissioners oppose decreases in speeds on Airport Road from Mission Avenue to Roymar Road, Mission Avenue from Interstate 5 to Canyon Drive, and North River Road from North River Circle to Stallion Drive.

Nine streets will see a speed increase, three streets a speed decrease and one will have a speed limit established.

New speeds will be posted 30 days after the council’s upcoming final approval.