By President Roxana Foxx, RSF Association board
Solutions to the impact of traffic through our community have been elusive to say the least. Going back through Rancho Santa Fe Association records for over 50 years you will find that one of the major issues facing our community remains traffic. Especially, the heavy volume of commuter traffic and the resulting “cut-through” traffic.
It was just over 10 years ago that the concept of roundabouts on Del Dios Highway was first discussed as a potential solution to cut-through traffic. The idea was that roundabouts would provide relief for residents living on side streets by keeping the flow of traffic moving on the main roads. Considered at the time to be similar to traffic signals, roundabouts were thought to be more in keeping with the rural character of the community. We recognize that sentiments in some parts of the community may be changing on this issue.
In order to evaluate the impacts of the roundabouts, and to compare them to traffic signals or even preserving the status quo, the Association worked with the County of San Diego to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). After almost six years of study the EIR has now been released for review. The Association board will be discussing the County’s EIR at our next board meeting on Feb. 7, at 9 a.m., at the RSF Garden Club. Association members are invited to attend the meeting and participate in the review and community discussion. After an informational presentation on the proposed roundabout project, there will be an opportunity for members to speak to the board about the information in the EIR, including alternative solutions such as traffic signals. Depending on the total number of speakers, each speaker is typically allocated two or three minutes to address the board.
At the conclusion of member comments, the board will consider the public testimony and make a recommendation or provide other comments to the County regarding the EIR. Because the roundabouts are a County project, the Association may make recommendations to the County, but the Board of Supervisors will make the final determination on the EIR and the proposed project.
The EIR is actually several inches thick, so the following is a brief summery.
•The three intersections under consideration are: Via de la Valle at Paseo Delicias; Paseo Delicias at El Montevideo/La Valle Plateada; and Del Dios Highway at El Camino Del Note.
•Making no changes to the three intersections will result in a failing or “F” level of service at the intersections.
•Installing traffic signals at the three intersections will result in a good or adequate level of service at the intersections.
•Roundabouts at the three intersections will also result in a good or adequate level of service at the intersections.
•Roundabouts and traffic signals provide a good measure of relief from cut-through traffic.
Traffic will always be a major concern, but the good news is that since 2003 traffic on the Del Dios corridor has actually decreased by approximately 24 percent. This may be due in part to the economy, but to a large degree the improvement is due to other regional traffic improvements such as the completion of Highway 56, the extension of managed lanes on Interstate 15 through Escondido and the opening of San Dieguito Road through Fairbanks Ranch. All of these improvements were actively and vigorously supported by the Association over the past several years.
As President of the Association Board, I can assure you that your board wants to do what is best for the character of our community and in the best interest of our members. I encourage you to come to the community meeting Feb. 7 and share your comments and thoughts.