Carmel Valley planning board won’t bump up speed limit for Ashley Falls Drive

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board will not support the city’s request to increase the speed limit on Ashley Falls Drive near the elementary school. The city had proposed to change the limit from 25 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour from Riding Ridge Road to Del Mar Heights Road.

California Speed Trap Law requires that the city survey the streets every seven years in order to keep speed limits radar-enforceable under the law’s provisions. The recent survey of Ashley Falls Drive showed that the speed limit has to increase to 30 miles per hour in order for it to be radar-enforceable.

“I don’t see the logic in turning a very residential street into a 30-miles-per-hour street,” said Ashley Falls School PTA president Jen Charat.

Charat told the board that residents who regularly use that throughway were “perplexed” by the request to raise the speed limit, especially where kids are frequently walking and biking to school. Charat’s son works on the school’s safety patrol, and he said in the past few months, three cars have hit cones in the crosswalk because of high speeds or inaccurate driving.

Charat said there have been two accidents on Ashley Falls Drive, and frequently people make illegal U-turns at the intersection in front of the school.

“In a way, it’s tacitly inviting drivers, especially new high-school-age drivers, to drive a little faster, and I’m very concerned it would have an adverse affect on the safety of that neighborhood,” Charat said.

If the speed limit is increased to 30 miles per hour, she’s afraid it’s an invitation to drive 40.

Board member Laura Copic said she does not believe that raising the speed limit will have any effect on traffic speeds, as people are already going faster than the posted 25. She said what really needs to be considered are traffic-calming measures.

Board member Hollie Kahn agreed that the street is affected, noting that many drivers use Ashley Falls Drive as a way to avoid the “poorly timed lights” on Del Mar Heights Road.

In their motion to not support the speed limit change, the board asked that where possible, the city consider further traffic-calming measures such as stop signs, potentially at Pearlman Way, an intersection in the curve of the road just before the school.