Two stop signs approved for Pacific Highlands Ranch streets

As Pacific Highlands Ranch continues to grow, so do concerns about its increasing traffic. The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board approved a pair of stop signs in the community on Sept. 28 after residents came forward about what they believe to be problem intersections in their neighborhoods.

The board approved a three-way stop sign at Rancho Santa Fe Farms Road and Caminito Mendiola, south of SR-56 where it turns into Solterra Vista Parkway. The board also approved a stop sign, crosswalk and sidewalk extension at Rancho Santa Fe Farms Road and Rancho Santa Fe Lakes Drive.

Resident Conor Donnelley, who made the request for the stop sign on Caminito Mendiola, said the stop sign is the highest priority but he was also in support of speed postings as there is not one posted speed limit, stop sign or crosswalk in a mile stretch where there are now 400 homes and homes currently under construction.

“This road was never intended to be a through street to Solterra Vista,” Donnelley said, noting when they purchased their home they were told it would be an emergency lane or fire exit.

After Rancho Santa Fe Farms Road turns into Solterra Vista Parkway, it loops back to Carmel Valley Road. Donnelly said the street is narrow and “dangerous” and the slope of the street creates a blind left turn. The proposed stop sign is also close to the site of the potential Del Mar Union School District’s ninth school on Solterra Vista.

Donnelley said he went around his community of 10 homes on Sandy Lane and also gathered signatures from neighboring Verana, Casavia and Rancho Glen Estates.

“I didn’t get one objection, everyone knew exactly what I was talking about and was enthusiastic about it,” Donnelley said. “This seems like an obvious place to install something.”

The planning board is able to request the city install a stop sign through the alternative process, even if the city has determined the intersection does not meet its requirements. Donnelley said the city engineer did come out and study the road — a 15-minute study conducted at 11:45 a.m. He said there has also been an accident at the intersection in the last 90 days.

Resident Frankie Rastkar made the proposal for the stop sign on Rancho Santa Fe Farms Road and Rancho Santa Fe Lakes Drive. A resident in the Casabella Collection since June, Rastkar said there is no safe way to cross Rancho Santa Fe Farms and cars speed fast through the thoroughfare where many new home communities are being built. The stop sign site is also close to the Solana Beach School District’s potential school site on Golden Cypress Place.

A city engineer completed a traffic survey of the road and determined it did not meet the requirements — the survey was 15 minutes at 2 p.m. Rastkar made her request for the alternative process after circulating a petition through her neighborhood, all 17 neighbors in support of the sign.

At the same meeting the stop signs were approved, another Pacific Highlands Ranch resident spoke to the board about a stop sign for Golden Cypress Place, also on Rancho Santa Fe Farms Drive, near the new community of Watermark. Resident Bruce Cameron said Carmel Valley Road has become so congested that people are using their residential streets as cut-through routes.

“For this whole area, it’s just obvious this hasn’t been an area of focus yet,” Donnelley said of Pacific Highlands Ranch’s traffic signs, postings and needed crosswalks.

Donnelley remarked on how bad the traffic is on Carmel Valley Road going westbound to SR-56 — all of the new homes empty out onto the road in addition to the Village shopping center and school traffic from Pacific Trails Middle School, Canyon Crest Academy and Solana Ranch Elementary School as well as nearby Cathedral Catholic High School and Sycamore Ridge School. The new park and recreation center will also be added to the mix as it is expected to completed by September 2018.

“To have all those homes funnel out onto that street, I don’t know how that didn’t get thought-out more,” Donnelley said, noting he wished there was another connection for Pacific Highlands Ranch to Del Mar Heights Road.

Last year the board established an ad-hoc Pacific Highlands Ranch traffic subcommittee but they have yet to meet. Chair Frisco White said it would be a good time to start to meet as the board will only hear more requests for stop signs and traffic calming measures from residents. He said it would be more effective to consider an overall traffic plan for the area.