April 11 issue:
Road a tragedy waiting to happen
Del Mar Heights Road west of I-5 (DMHR) continues to be a tragedy waiting to happen. Drivers routinely exceed the posted speed limit often by a wide margin endangering school children and other pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers attempting to turn at the road’s many intersections. Walking on the sidewalk is a perilous and harrowing experience as cars and trucks thunder by seemingly on the verge of careening off the roadway. It is only a matter of when, not if, a tragic accident occurs resulting in fatalities.
Despite repeated calls for action by members of the Del Mar community, the City of San Diego has taken virtually no action to improve the safety of the roadway. The countless years of unconscionable inaction must come to an end. It is time for the City of San Diego to finally implement a comprehensive redesign plan for DMHR incorporating critical, well recognized traffic calming measures many of which have been successfully incorporated on nearby roads. Two such examples are Carmel Valley Road between DMHR and Via Abertura/Evergreen Nursery and various stretches of Highway 101 between Genesee Avenue in Torrey Pines and Via De La Valle in Solana Beach.
I urge the City of San Diego to immediately make similar traffic calming improvements to DMHR as follows:
1. Construction of a raised and landscaped, tree lined center median wide enough to shelter a vehicle in an intersection.
2. Construction of substantial landscaped buffers separating and protecting both the bike lanes and the sidewalks from roadway traffic.
3. Lane reductions to one lane from Nogales Drive to Boquita Drive with a corresponding reduction in speed limit to 25 mph along that section of roadway.
4. Judicious use of roundabouts at strategic locations.
5. Expanded pedestrian-friendly sidewalks.
Local community planning boards and the City of San Diego must act now to transform DMHR from a roadway currently designed as a dangerous, noise polluting speedway to a safe, community and pedestrian friendly, tree-lined boulevard. It is a vision that can and must be realized. Our lives and the lives of our children depend on it.
Alan Rubinstein (the father and grandfather of residents of Del Mar Heights)