Stop signs, lighted crosswalks considered for High Bluff intersection

A pedestrian activated lighted crosswalk in Solana Beach.

A pedestrian activated lighted crosswalk in Solana Beach.

(Karen Billing)

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board continues to explore a traffic calming measure of some kind for the Solana Highlands neighborhood intersection of High Bluff Drive and Lady Hill Road.

A neighborhood petition signed by 70 residents has requested an all-way stop sign, others have asked the board to pursue a pedestrian-activated lighted crosswalk. The city of San Diego has explored the idea of a flashing beacon which the board has stated they are not interested in. At the June 25 meeting, the board decided they would use the month to see if a viable alternative such as a lighted crosswalk could be done by the city in a timely and cost-efficient manner. If not, they will vote on the stop signs at their July 23 meeting.

At the board’s May meeting, residents Diane Borys and Michael Wood presented a petition with 60 signatures in support of a stop sign and over the following month, added 10 additional residents.

“Everyone in our community agrees that something needs to be done at that intersection,” Wood said.

The intersection is in a school zone, and is a major access point to Solana Highlands School and the neighborhood park. Neighbors have offered stories of near-misses due to speeding and people blowing through the existing crosswalk. With Wood and Borys leading the effort, the city traffic engineer was unable to qualify the intersection for a stop sign which prompted the residents to use the alternative process through the planning board.

In May, the board also received a petition against the stop signs from residents David and Marlene Gotz. Marlene Gotz said pedestrians don’t need a stop sign 24/7, however, cars and trucks stopping at the signs at all hours would create noise and exhaust pollution.

Rather than a stop sign, longtime resident Ginny Barnes suggested the solution used by the city of Solana Beach on Stevens Avenue and Genevieve Street: a pedestrian crosswalk with solar-powered signs with lights that only flash when a pedestrian activates it.

“I believe most neighbors would be agreeable to the installation of a lighted pedestrian crosswalk,” Gotz said. “It is my sincere request that this is the proposal the board proceeds with because that is is what is fair to all the homeowners concerned while satisfying the safety concerns of our neighbors and our schoolchildren.”

Wood said he is in support of either solution but he is trying to represent the interests of the 70 residents he surveyed who are in favor of stop signs, which he also prefers.

Wood said as he works in downtown Del Mar, he uses the lighted crosswalk on Camino Del Mar on an almost a daily basis and sees that without a stop sign and without people being accustomed to stopping, drivers will still blow through it. He said he’s not willing to take that risk of playing chicken with drivers when he’s walking his son to school in his neighborhood: “I want a stop sign there and I want people to become accustomed to stopping there,” Wood said.

Board member Ken Farinsky, who lives the neighborhood, said he has considered all the arguments against the stop signs and while he likes the idea of a lighted crosswalk, he still believes stop signs are the safest solution.

” I feel like we need to slow down traffic and I feel like we need to value pedestrians as much as cars,” Farinsky said.

To attend the July 23 Zoom board meeting, contact Chair Frisco White at white@wwarch.com.


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