As someone who has come to visit in Del Mar and been stuck in the traffic at the stop signs, I was glad to see that roundabouts are being proposed. The circumstance is remarkably similar to La Jolla Blvd. in Bird Rock. In Bird Rock they have been a resounding success. It is a pleasant transit now.
We went from two lanes down to one and increased our parking with diagonal parking also. All the landscaping makes it look significantly better and more uniform throughout. There are five roundabouts in total on our main street.
We have thousands of cars driven by tourists coming through from Pacific Beach to La Jolla and they all seem to find a way to negotiate the circles.
There was definitely a learning curve — where people went slower than usual while the majority of the “regulars” acclimated to them — but that was a short time. There are some “hold outs” that still refuse to use them — but a really small number. The people that don’t want to use them have not resulted in more traffic on the side streets — which was a fear of parallel street residents. What has happened is that most drivers have realized it is far faster to stay on La Jolla Blvd. with no stops than to take a side street with stops at about every intersection. There was re-striping and other traffic control installed on the side streets at the same time as the roundabouts. Bird Rock had a very comprehensive plan.
In particular, we used to have a regular bottleneck of traffic at the intersection of La Jolla Blvd. and Forward where there was a stop sign. Also, it would bottleneck at the light at La Jolla Blvd. and Bird Rock Avenue. It took forever to get through during rush hour times. People hit some pretty high speeds going through while there were two lanes.
Now, there may be short, infrequent pauses as a pedestrian crosses or someone pulls out of a parking space, but for the most part is non-stop through Bird Rock. People travel at a slower speed overall and don’t stop which is a faster transit time vs racing to the next stop sign and then getting stuck at that intersection while it moves like molasses as all the cars take turns. It has also resulted in drivers actually seeing the area as they drive through. Bird Rock is thriving. Pedestrians have much safer access to cross the street — so they do —which is good for business. It is by far more pedestrian-friendly — just check out the regular gathering at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters — they spill out onto the sidewalks, it’s great.
I live in the middle of where the roundabouts are in Bird Rock, so I am on the street using the roundabouts multiple times a day — love them. I also live on one of the parallel streets and have not experienced an increase in traffic.
At the time that ours were proposed, there was nowhere to go and see them in action locally. Now, I invite you down to Bird Rock to experience it for yourself firsthand. Especially for the business owners who wonder about the potential impacts — Bird Rock merchants can be a great resource.