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Calming the Traffic on Crest
August 2008 | by Harold Feder


After three years, the City Council has approved the permanent use of chicanes as one of the Crest Road traffic calming measures. Supporters believe that these traffic-calming measures have been and will be effective and aesthetically consistent with our beautiful neighborhood. 

The following summary of relevant facts demonstrates how vetted these measures have been:    

Solving the traffic problems on Crest Road started with a broad solicitation of suggestions from throughout the community. Input was solicited from the City staff, Public Works, Fire Department, engineering consultants, and the town's traffic engineer.  Every suggestion was discussed and debated for effectiveness and whether significant consensus could be achieved from most of the community.

Many residents most affected by the traffic sought measures much more extreme: Making Crest Road one-way south; turnabouts; no left turns for North-bound traffic; and closing Crest Road entirely to traffic. These suggestions were rejected because of opposition from some of our neighbors, especially those who reside on adjoining streets to Crest: at least 20 different proposals were considered. To reach the widest consensus, options were discussed at numerous neighborhood meetings, TPAC hearings and Council hearings -- a three-year process.      

This final plan -- 15 MPH speed, a new stop sign and chicanes -- is a significant compromise. The facts say this plan has been and will be effective in lowering traffic speed and volume on Crest, will not adversely affect traffic volume or speed on adjoining streets, and is consistent with the Community Plan's goal of promoting pedestrian traffic and biking. Chicanes are aesthetically consistent with the surrounding vegetation. Many communities literally beg for chicanes for traffic calming.

Comments from a few vocal critics included allegations that there was no traffic problem, that the measures posed a fire hazard and that only a few Crest Road residents see it as a problem. None of the "comments" are factual.

Traffic studies clearly show a significant traffic problem on Crest that affects the whole community (1800 cars a day). There are traffic and speed issues on Crest and adjoining streets. Traffic affects all of the town's pedestrians and bikers who walk and bike on Crest and those who walk their dogs and babies here. The engineering consultants and we continuously consulted with the Fire Department on all traffic-calming measures. All Fire Department suggestions have been incorporated into the plan. These measures are not for a few on Crest Road . In reality, Crest residents will sacrifice more with these measures. Speed and yield signs are in front of our homes and we hear the sounds of traffic stopping. Chicanes are in front of our homes and affect parking. We drive on Crest more and suffer the alleged "inconvenience" of driving slower and safer. We are helping fund the chicanes. Private citizens have never before helped the town defray the costs of safety measures.

We support these measures for one reason: turning dangerous conditions into a safe, beautiful environment that is an asset to the entire town. We know that traffic is a dominant issue in our town. How aggressive we are in combating this problem will determine whether Del Mar maintains its village atmosphere or turns into a massive thoroughfare for resident and non-resident speeders and cut-through traffic trying to escape I-5. The traffic-calming measures on Crest are a good beginning in maintaining our village environment.



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