Roundabout proposed for Carmel Country Road intersection

A roundabout has been proposed for the intersection of Carmel Country Road and Carmel Mountain Road.
(Darren Levitt)

On Oct. 24, the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board voted in favor of sending a request to the city to study the installation of a roundabout at the intersection of Carmel Mountain Road and Carmel Country Road.

The owners of the Merge mixed-use center at the corner first approached the board about the problem area last summer. The intersection has had several accidents and near misses due to speeding and reckless driving, with drivers ignoring the stoplight altogether as they turn west on Carmel Mountain Road.

Carmel Mountain Road was originally supposed to connect to the existing Carmel Mountain Road off Camino Del Sur when SR-56 was built but it never did. As a result, it’s a huge intersection with a six-lane road that was master planned for 30,000 daily trips.

“This is an opportunity to try and create an intersection designed for people and not for cars,” said Gary Levitt of Seabreeze Properties regarding the need to create a more walkable community and a safe way to cross to the park that sits to the south.

Levitt has presented a conceptual roundabout to the city’s traffic engineers and for the project to move forward, the planning board must request the roundabout as a capital improvement program (CIP) project.

The board agreed to send a letter to the mayor’s office to push the project forward, however, Chair Frisco White did so reluctantly as the board has been waiting to get its own CIP project started.

Rather than taking a piecemeal approach to traffic and livability issues in Carmel Valley, the board went through a long process of identifying problematic areas and categorizing them to be dealt with together.

The board has set aside $1 million of facilities benefits assessments for the city to conduct a traffic study and hire a traffic engineer to develop a program to fix the problems. The board’s efforts have stalled with the city.

Levitt said as he pushes the city on the roundabout project he will work with the planning board in an attempt to pull their CIP project along with his.