The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Op-ed: A Final Argument For Roundabouts

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The time has arrived to decide the future of our historic Ranch. All Covenant land owners will be receiving a ballot in the mail in the coming week seeking a preference for traffic lights or roundabouts. Given all the information we have collected below, we believe roundabouts are the best solution to maintain our rural character.

Independent Study Commissioned By The Traffic Lights Group is Implausible

  • The Traffic lights group commissioned an independent engineering study to discredit roundabouts.
  • Kittelson Associates Inc (KAI) performed a second independent engineering study using the latest 2015 software and found the study performed by the traffic lights group is not fully consistent with the current state of modern roundabout design.
  • KAI confirmed that roundabouts are a better choice than traffic lights along Paseo Delicias.
  • KAI is a national leader in roundabout engineering, having constructed over 800 across the USA and Canada.
  • KAI helped develop the software that is used by all State Departments of Transportation.

Traffic Flow

  • Roundabouts eliminate waiting at annoying red lights, and give immediate access to roadways.
  • Roundabouts facilitate a slow, steady pace, moving traffic through 20% quicker than traffic lights.

Widening of Via de la Valle and Paseo Delicias to four lanes

  • In 2006, County staff recommended widening the Via de la Valle/ Del Dios corridor to four lanes.
  • A new four-lane expansion is already approved for Del Dios at Via Rancho Parkway.
  • Widening has already occurred at: Morgan Run, Polo Point, Casa Palmera, Cielo and Crosby.
  • A former Traffic Committee chairman noted, "All you need to do is connect the dots.”
  • Traffic lights will facilitate widening, while roundabouts can stop future widening efforts.

Safety

  • Roundabouts are nine times safer than traffic lights for injury and fatal accidents.
  • Roundabouts reduce speed and have traffic calming effects, improving safety for horses, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Beauty

  • Roundabouts are more beautiful and in keeping with the rural aesthetics of our historic Ranch. 
  • Roundabouts are in compliance with its dark sky mandate.

Environment

  • Unlike traffic lights, the carbon footprint of roundabouts is close to zero.
  • Roundabouts significantly reduce light, noise, emissions, and fuel consumption.
  • Roundabouts qualify for The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Cost

  • Covenant residents and the Association will pay nothing.
  • The County states each of the roundabouts may cost as little as $1M each.
  • Roundabouts are eligible for federal funds from the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • Developers of Cielo and Crosby will be assessed.

Eminent Domain

  • Covenant residences will only lose 0.09 acre (9/100th) in total over the three intersections.
  • The non-Covenant vacant lot on El Montevideo will lose 0.12 acre.
  • The RSF Association will lose the most land - a total of 0.294 acre.
  • Each landowner will be paid fair market value for the land - tax free.

Village Church

  • The Village Church will not lose land.
  • The parking spaces it reportedly will lose were already given to the County of San Diego in 2008, in exchange for a variance to build a larger sanctuary.
  • In addition, a 2008 signed agreement kindly grants Association-owned land to the Church to replace those spaces.

Time Frame. 

  • The national average construction time for a roundabout is 3-5 months.
  • The 12-18 month estimate in the County report includes planning and land acquisition.
  • At least one lane and all intersections will remain open during construction.

Fear.

  • According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, most drivers initially prefer traffic signals and stop signs.
  • Follow-up studies after one year show: 70% favored roundabouts, and only 15% opposed.

Independent Roundabout Study By The Traffic Lights Group is Implausible.

  • Kittelson Associates Inc (KAI) states the independent study, commissioned by the traffic lights supporters, is not fully consistent with the current state of modern roundabout planning and design.
  • KAI performed a second independent study, using the latest software, and confirmed that roundabouts are superior to traffic lights.
  • KAI is a national leader in roundabout engineering, having constructed over 800 across the USA and Canada.

 

Supporting documents can be found at: www.rsfbeautifulroads.com.

 

 - The Beautiful Roads Group

 

*Note: This article was updated on 10/6/15