Rancho Santa Fe Association Board- Thursday March 5, RFSA staff made a presentation on how best to manage the increasing amount of traffic entering the covenant off of Del Dios highway, a problem that the board has grappled with for the past 15 years. The County provided plans for two different options for the Association to consider, those options were installing stoplights or roundabouts at three of the major intersections in the Ranch: Del Dios and El Camino Del Norte, Paseo Delicias and El Montevideo, and Paseo Delicias and Via de la Valle.
The Board’s discussion focused on how the two different scenarios would affect the surrounding area and what issues would need to be addressed if either option is implemented. One of the major differences between the signal and the roundabout options was the price. The cost of installing roundabouts at the three intersections is likely to be close to $6 million. Whereas traffic signals would cost $1.6 million and could be altered to include signals that matched the ranch’s cultural heritage.
While both options would help reduce traffic congestion, the roundabout option presents a unique set of challenges. In addition to a likely delay in implementation due to increased cost, roundabouts would also require that traffic be diverted through side streets during construction. With signalization, traffic could continue through the intersections throughout the construction phase. The roundabout option would also require alterations to adjacent properties. One of the most notable would be to the Village Church parking lot, which would lose spaces to accommodate a roundabout buildout at the corner of Paseo Delicias and Via de la Valle.
Although the signal option would be less expensive and less labour intensive to construct, the community's “dark skies” policy becomes a concern. Signalization would require safety lighting features in order to illuminate the intersection at night which might conflict with the “dark skies” policy.
According to Assistant Manager, Ivan Holler, if no decision is reached by the Board, the County may make a decision sooner rather than later on its own. If the Board elects the signal option the project will be put in the County’s queue for future projects. The lower price tag would also mean that the project would have a better chance of being completed sooner.
Many members in attendance voiced their concerns that a roundabout option would be too intrusive into surrounding properties and that the construction would create severe complications to residents during rush hour.
After listening to testimony from members in attendance, the Board of Directors decided more public input was required before a final decision could be reached. The Board directed staff to organize a ‘Town Meeting’ within the next 2-3 months. Community members are encouraged to attend and share their opinions.