San Carlos residents bandy about traffic solutions

"The fact you have to wait two seconds is not worth the life of my child."

Intersection of Jackson Drive and Cowles Mountain Boulevard
  • Intersection of Jackson Drive and Cowles Mountain Boulevard

Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on October 21, considered three San Carlos traffic issues.

The planning group unanimously approved the installation of a four-way stop at Green Gables Avenue and Wandermere Drive, and a board majority rejected a proposal to return a portion of Jackson Drive to two lanes. Also, a majority opposed the City of San Diego's plan to raise the speed limit from 35 to 40 miles per hour on a stretch of Navajo Road.

Green Elementary school requested the four-way stop to slow traffic that includes students driving to nearby Patrick Henry High School. Green principal Bruce Ferguson asked for support because the intersection fell 3 points short of the 20 that the city requires for "all-way" signage. The ranking, based on a January 2013 traffic study, indicated there were no accidents at the intersection during the preceding three years. Ferguson said, "There were three near-misses since school stared in September."

The planning group's support triggered the city's alternative process: when a planning group requests signs, the council representative may ask the mayor to approve them.

The board then discussed whether to restripe Jackson Drive to return it to its "original configuration," an action Seventh District councilman Scott Sherman requested in an August 12 letter to mayor Bob Filner.

Sherman wrote in response to residents' requests about the street that was two lanes until 2007. Changes were made because of concerns about Benchley-Weinberger Elementary School students who crossed at the Jackson/Twin Lake intersection.

Jackson was changed to one lane between Cowles Mountain Boulevard and Twin Lake Drive on one side of the street and from Lake Shore Drive to Twin Lake on the other side. In addition, a crosswalk with flashing lights was installed at Jackson and Twin Lake. It was removed and replaced with a four-way stop in 2010.

At the meeting, restriping advocates spoke of drivers speeding into the "channelized" lane. One-lane supporters said the configuration slowed traffic. "The fact you have to wait two seconds is not worth the life of my child," said Wendy Lipman.

Although the cost for restriping wasn't known, Benchley-Weinberger principal Mariclaret Patton suggested using that money for signage near Green Elementary.

While Jim Markowitz referred to the current arrangement as a "calming lane," Mickey Zelnik said it brought more traffic on her street, making it unsafe for children there.

Planner Sherry Kelly suggested that residents look into getting a stoplight at the intersection. The planning group's vote "not to support" restriping included the recommendation that the city investigate installation of the traffic signal.

The board also discussed the city's plan to raise the speed limit on Navajo between Boulder Lake and Bisby Lake avenues. The increase allows the street to "remain radar enforceable," according to an August 15 letter from associate traffic engineer Biljana Dekic.

Planner Dale Peterson questioned the action, saying his mother "always told me there's not a right way to do the wrong thing." He joined in the vote opposing the increase. Planners also voted to ask the city traffic engineer for more information.

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