Carmel Valley board backs request to take down traffic light

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board unanimously approved residents’ request to ask the city to remove a newly installed traffic signal at Carmel County Road and Craven Ridge Way.

Without notice to neighbors, the lights suddenly went up at the three-way intersection over the holidays and went live on Jan. 26.

Residents Laura Copic, Sam Talpalatsky and Drew Williams addressed the board on behalf of their community at the board’s Jan. 28 meeting. The residents questioned the necessity of a third traffic light in the span of two city blocks on Carmel Country Road, followed by an additional four-way stop sign at Derrydown Way. The neighbors argued that the light adds no value for traffic control and, worse, only causes an additional nuisance with noise and light pollution.

The traffic signal was triggered by a San Diego City Council condition of the Alta Del Mar community in Del Mar Mesa, a plan drafted more than 10 years ago.

“The plan is irrational based on the composition and the footprint of the community today,” Copic said.

Based on the neighbors’ traffic counts between the morning hours of 7:38 a.m. and 8:08 a.m., just four of 293 cars used the signal to stop the northbound traffic on Carmel CountryRoad to make a left-hand turn into Craven Ridge. Between 5:20 p.m. and 5:50 p.m. four of 351 cars used the signal to make the left- hand turn.

During the morning hour, only 12 cars turned right onto Carmel Country from Craven Ridge.

The traffic signal also came with street lights with LED-lighting that are much brighter than the other neighborhood lights, effectively turning a community surface street into a city-style intersection.

“Our more immediate concern is that light,” Copic said, noting that it is “incredibly bright” and lights up all of their backyards and shines into their homes.

The board agreed that the intersection does not warrant the stop light and board member Monique Chen made the motion to ask the city to remove the signal along with the lights and paint over the crosswalk that was recently placed in the road.

Board member Allen Kashani recused himself from the vote as he works for Pardee Homes, who was required to put in the light for the Alta Del Mar development.

“We’re interested in helping,” Kashani said of the “unfortunate situation,” noting Pardee can’t take action on the removal of the light without first being directed by the city.