Rancho Santa Fe roundabouts’ design to be complete by mid-2023

The Rancho Santa Fe Association offices.
The Rancho Santa Fe Association offices.
(Karen Billing)

The County of San Diego is continuing work on three roundabouts planned for the busy Paseo Delicias/Del Dios Highway corridor, long advocated for by the Rancho Santa Fe Association. At the board’s August meeting, Rancho Santa Fe Association Manager Christy Whalen said they recently met with county representatives and an advisor for Supervisor Tara Lawson-Remer’s office, finding that design work for the improvements are anticipated to be complete in mid-2023.

“It was a good step forward,” Whalen said.

The Rancho Santa Fe roundabouts project includes three single-lane roundabouts at the intersections at Via De La Valle, El Montevideo and El Camino del Norte. The goal is for the roundabouts to provide regional congestion relief for the thousands of cars that idle daily at the intersections’ existing stop signs, causing traffic back-ups.

The improvements will also incorporate a shared pathway for pedestrians and equestrians, bike lanes, ADA-compliant crosswalks, updated signing and striping, lighting, drainage improvements and “Green Streets” water-quality features. Green streets are county road projects that implement green infrastructure best management practices to capture, slow and filter stormwater.

Donna Durckel, group communications officer for the county’s land use and environment department, said that the project’s environmental studies, design development and modeling, right-of-way, and utility relocations, as well as community coordination, are ongoing and should be complete by summer 2023.

The RSF Association has a long history with the roundabouts, with the first draft of the project’s environmental impact report (EIR) circulated back in 2008. In 2015, the Association board voted to support traffic signals for the intersections after feedback at a town hall meeting was overwhelmingly in favor of signals. However, immediately afterward, a group of residents challenged the decision with a petition forcing a vote. As a result, the Association conducted a community-wide survey in which roundabouts came out on top as the preferred alternative.

“The community has been heavily involved in determining improvements to the corridor, and the roundabouts were determined to be the best fit with the character of the community,” Durckel said.

In 2016, the project was approved by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and the EIR was certified. In 2020, the supervisors allocated $3 million for staff to complete the design. Construction costs were not provided and still need to be identified.

“We continue to communicate with the Rancho Santa Fe Association, San Dieguito Community Planning Group and RSF Community Services District as the project moves forward,” Durckel said.

The construction phase, which is estimated to cost approximately $12 million, is anticipated to begin in late 2023 subject to finalizing funding sources.

Whalen said the Association plans to assist the county in pursuing federal and state funding for the project: “We want to go full force on this,” she said.

As they are still working on the final project footprint, the county did not have renderings to share at this time.