By Karen Billing
The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board has recommended the installation of a VCalm sign on Via de la Valle as a short-term fix for speeding issues on the roadway. The group also said it will continue to try and find a more permanent solution to the problem.
A VCalm sign is an electronic sign that flashes the speed a car is traveling.
The speeding and safety issue on Via de la Valle was raised by members of the Santa Fe Downs community, a 19-home development located on the north side of Via de la Valle in between San Andres and El Camino Real.
Resident Kevin Arner said that ingress and egress into their community is very difficult due to speeding — drivers often “punch it” on the curve after El Camino Real and have a long stretch to build speed on the road.
“45 miles per hour is a joke on that stretch,” said resident Pat Chunyk.
Arner said it is dangerous for residents to walk to any local services due to the lack of pedestrian and bike lanes. He said the road hasn’t been improved in years and the lane is frequently marred by overgrowth, sand and the pavement is uneven.
“We want to be able to walk and ride bikes without being hit,” Arner said.
The residents said ideally when the Via de la Valle widening project goes through and if there is a roundabout at El Camino Real from that widening project, that will work to slow people down.
Both of those projects are a few years out — a site development permit for the Via de la Valley widening is expected by the end of this year and it would take a year to design and construct. The environmental impact report on the El Camino Real widening is expected next year and construction is anticipated to begin in 2016 with a 2018 completion.
While the effectiveness the VCalm sign may have is unknown, proponents say that if it catches the attention of at least one driver and they slow down, it could slow down cars behind them.
The city has not been in favor of stop signs or crosswalks at that location so far, but White said a more permanent fix is likely needed.
In related news, the planning board is considering the option of adding a seat to its board to represent the San Dieguito River Valley area, known as “subarea II,” which would include the Santa Fe Downs neighborhood. The seat would encompass the area around the river park, the Via de la Valle corridor from Interstate 5, bordered by Pacific Highlands Ranch, Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe.
The board plans to discuss adding a seat at a future meeting.