Supervisor Desmond proposes Rancho Santa Fe roundabouts, other improvements to roads, park

Jim Desmond, District 5 member of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors
Jim Desmond, District 5 member of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, at a January 28, 2020 supervisors meeting.
(Howard Lipin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond is seeking additions to the county budget that would fund three traffic circles in Rancho Santa Fe for $10 million, improve a Valley Center park for $4 million and add a traffic signal in that community for $1 million, among other projects.

“My budget requests include funding for critical infrastructure projects, including traffic signals and intersection improvements, which will ensure driver and pedestrian safety and reduce first-responder travel times,” Desmond said in an email.

Supervisors will discuss and adopt the proposed $6.4 billion budget at their next meeting, scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25. The deadline for the public and for supervisors to submit recommendations for the budget was 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19.

Supervisors Nathan Fletcher, Diane Jacob and Greg Cox also recommended additional projects.

Desmond’s proposed budget amendment asks to allocate $10 million for Rancho Santa Fe roundabouts at Paseo Delicias and El Montevideo, Paseo Delicias and La Palma, and Paseo Delicias and El Camino Del Norte.

Supervisor Fletcher has said he is not supportive of such expenditures for the Rancho Santa Fe project at a time when much of the community is struggling with a health crisis and economic challenges.

The traffic circle project in the affluent North County community — along with a proposed $5.4 million in road improvements at South Santa Fe Road and Buena Creek Road in Vista — were previously approved and would relieve major traffic constraints and improve emergency response times, according to the proposed amendment.

In the Vista project, the intersection would be pulled away from the coaster tracks, a new dedicated right turn lane would be constructed and additional capacity in the left turn lane would be added. The work is intended to reduce a bottle neck at the intersection.

In another project, Desmond proposed to spend $4 million for Valley Center Park improvements. The Valley Center Community Services District is responsible for the construction and maintenance of parks in the community, an arrangement unique in the county because the Department of Parks and Recreations builds and maintains parks in all other unincorporated communities, the proposed amendment read.

Desmond said the Valley Center Parks and Recreation Board recently applied to be part of the county system because of its lack of funds, which leads him to request money to improve the community’s park.

He also is proposing to allocate $1 million for a traffic signal at Valley Center Road at Ridge Ranch Road.

— Gary Warth is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune