Traffic lights or roundabouts in Rancho Santa Fe? Go with the safest option

I read the news in your newspaper on Oct. 25 regarding the Final EIR on proposed roundabouts in RSF. The good part is that both the county and Rancho Santa Fe community are really concerned about the traffic jam along the highway Paseo Delicias(S6) and have now planned to take action to fix this problem.

However, I am more concerned about the safety issue between two stop signs which will be replaced by two roundabouts instead of traffic lights — the first one at El Camino Del Norte and the second at Montevideo along S6.  Right now, the traffic safety issue has already become very serious along S6 between the two stop signs at El Camino Del Norte and at Montevideo.

As we all know, the traffic along S6 is very heavy both in the morning and in the evening. In the morning, you will see a long line of cars waiting from east to west towards the Village at these two stop signs.  We can reconcile that problem to a certain degree, because some of those cars along the road can stop and let you make a left turn out of Paseo Delicias to join the flow of traffic.  However, in the evening, the traffic situation is completely different.  It is extremely difficult to even make right turn from 3:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., let alone to make a left turn and go back towards the Village and the school.  From the stop sign at Montevideo, all the cars that come out of that stop sign are speeding up to over 50 miles per hour as they approach eastbound to our corner (where Paseo Delicias becomes Del Dios Highway).  We can hardly find any break to squeeze into the traffic and it becomes too risky and dangerous to make a left turn to head towards the village from our street.  Sometimes, in order to go to the Village, we have to wait quite a long time in order to make a right turn. Then we will have to make a left turn at El Camino De Norte and drive around back towards the Village.

In other words, we have no way to make a left turn towards the direction of the Village at all in the late afternoon.  It is just too risky to take a chance to make a left turn and drive with kids for after school activities during that time.  I talked to other neighbors who have kids and they have similar experiences.

We are faced with two options to mitigate the traffic: roundabouts and traffic lights:

  1. Can roundabouts reduce the risk compared with the stop signs or worsen the current situation for all the residents between El Camino Del Norte and Montevideo to get out of the houses?  Between these two roundabouts, there are two cross streets which will be affected: the one at Camino De Conejos and Paseo Delicias, and the second where Paseo Delicias veers right and Del Dios Highway begins.  Especially from 6695 to 6801 along Paseo Delicias, it might be worse because all the cars go to eastbound without any stop sign. I would to request both the County and RSF Traffic Committee to do more research and find out if it is safe to set up roundabouts instead of traffic lights.

2.  We all have the same goal to keep the rural character Rancho Santa Fe intact. However, as more young families with kids move into this community for its five-star school education, the issue of safety should be at the forefront.  More importantly, unless we can be assured that roundabouts can be much safer than the traffic lights for the residents who have to navigate in and out of the houses along Paseo Delicias, perhaps we should consider saving the money and simply install traffic lights instead.

Wei Zhang

Concerned Covenant Resident Living On Paseo Delicias

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