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Carmel Valley planning board gives High Bluff Drive stop sign another green light

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board approved a stop sign at the intersection of High Bluff Drive and Grandvia Point near Overlook Park.
(Karen Billing)

For the second time, the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board approved the installation of a stop sign and crosswalk on High Bluff Drive and Grandvia Point to provide a safe crossing for residents headed to Overlook Park.

The board approved the stop sign in March, but rescinded its decision in April as residents against the proposal said they had been uninformed.

At the June 26 board meeting, the board voted 9-3 in favor of the stop sign and crosswalk, as well as stop-sign-ahead signage and painting in the streets.

Those voting in opposition were board members Anne Harvey, Jonathon Tedesco and Steve Davison, who said it did not make sense to install a stop sign and crosswalk on a blind bend and that it might make sense further down the road where there is a better line of sight.

“I’m a big supporter of crosswalks, particularly along really long streets that tend to be raceways in our neighborhoods,” said board member Chris Moore. “I’m not crazy about this intersection, because it does have that blind curve … but I respect that the neighbors are supportive of this location.”

The board debated whether to have a stop sign and a crosswalk or just the stop sign. The board made the decision to include both after a fatal accident April 30 involving a pedestrian on Del Mar Trails Road. A 57-year-old woman was struck by a car while crossing on a crosswalk at an intersection that did not have a stop sign.

Resident Sean Coughlin initially made the request to the board for a stop sign at the three-way intersection near Overlook Park. He said there is no safe way to cross the street, and the curve of the street makes crossing over to the park dangerous for the numerous families in the area. Coughlin had gathered 68 signatures in support of the stop sign.

“There is very, very strong support for this in the community,” said resident Lindsay Burroughs. “Only one household has registered their disapproval. I do believe there is an opportunity to solve the problem in the community with a stop sign.”

Residents Christina and Frank Winter came before the board in April to ask that the board rescind its approval, saying that they were not aware of the stop sign proposal until it had been approved and that the Alta Mar HOA hadn’t formally weighed in on the issue.

The Winters have lived in their home on Grandvia for 21 years and have never had a problem. They argued that the stop sign would create noise, pollution and quality of life impacts, and that the crosswalk provides a false sense of security

“The volume of cars has not increased on the street to warrant a stop sign,” Christina said. “Common sense goes a long way; you don’t cross the street at a blind turn.”

Since the April meeting, Coughlin has taken the issue to the Alta Mar HOA for a formal opinion and has met with a city traffic engineer and planning board members as well as the Winters. The HOA board meeting was attended by nine residents in favor of the stop sign, which Couglin noted was record attendance for an HOA meeting. The board approved the stop sign in a 5-0 vote.

According to traffic engineer Oscar Cortez, the only other solutions for the road were curb bump-outs and narrowing the intersection. Coughlin said neither of those solutions solves the problem of the blind corner and children and families trying to safely cross the street.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when someone gets seriously injured or killed at this intersection,” Coughlin said.

Board member Ken Farinsky, who lives in the neighborhood, said he agreed that the stop sign and crosswalk are needed, with so many people walking to visit the scenic park.

“I see it as an accident waiting to happen,” Farinsky said. “If we don’t do it and someone gets hurt, it’s on us.”

“The community has spoken, and that carries a lot of weight for me,” agreed board member Rick Newman.


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