By Karen Billing
Close to 800 bicyclists buzzed through Rancho Santa Fe over the weekend as part of the Tour de Cure race. While several times a year special runs or rides come through the Ranch fundraising for good causes, the RSF Association would like to have more input on potential routes not only for the sake of impact on local residents but also to ensure the safest passage for participants.
RSF Association Manager Pete Smith said this is a growing issue as organizations have discovered that hosting walks or rides is a very easy way to raise money. Each year there are already four to six charity events that utilize Covenant roadways and many times the Association is given only a few weeks or even just a few days of advance notice.
At its April 20 board meeting, the RSF Association board approved sending a letter to the county that would require applications be submitted three to six months before the event and asking that the Association be notified as soon as applications for events are received by the county so the Association can help coordinate routes and planning.
Chris Livoni, associate planner, said that county representatives aren’t always familiar with the locations or traffic patterns which creates the potential approval of an event route consisting of highly traveled roads or roads with abundant grade changes that pose safety concerns.
“We’re the ones that house the best information,” Livoni said, noting getting the Association involved as soon as possible would be a benefit.
While with the Tour de Cure the Association didn’t have the ideal amount of notice, RSF Patrol Chief Matt Wellhouser was able to work with the organizers to get a part of the course tweaked with a small window of notice,
Originally the course had been on La Bajada, “the least preferable” and “most impactful” and Wellhouser was able to get a portion re-routed to El Camino Real and El Mirlo.
RSF Association Vice President Anne Feighner noted that El Mirlo is still a dangerous route as there is no bike lane — which is the case with most Covenant roads,.
Feighner said it will be helpful if the RSF Association can weigh in on the safest race routes.