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Ruminating on Roundabouts
- Dan Quirk | 23rd Street

Full disclosure: I love the new roundabout at Jimmy Durante and San Dieguito! Have you seen or driven through it yet? Perhaps on your way to Viewpoint Brewing for a libation with friends? With the recently added landscaping, it is now beautiful as well as functional. The flow of traffic is graceful, akin to a river flowing around a boulder. As this is the first roundabout in Del Mar, it may take some time for residents and visitors to get fully comfortable navigating it, but the initial public feedback to the Traffic and Parking Advisory Committee (TPAC) has been very positive. The TPAC is also looking at adding push-button activated flashing lights at the north end of the roundabout to improve pedestrian safety.

I recently walked one Friday afternoon from my street to the river path, passing the 4-way stop intersection at Camino Del Mar and 22nd Street, in addition to the new roundabout. The contrast between the two intersections was remarkable. At 22nd Street, the traffic backed up the hill, as it always does, with cars stopping then accelerating through the intersection, only to hit the brakes again for the cars backing up at the 27th Street stop sign. Conversely, at the Jimmy Durante roundabout, the cars were flowing smoothly through, without the obnoxious (and noxious) braking and accelerating. It was an eye-opening comparison.

While roundabouts are relatively rare in the United States, there are thousands of them in Europe. In San Diego County, roundabouts have been in place for many years in Bird Rock and Leucadia. Roundabouts improve traffic flow because cars only come to a full stop a fraction of the time versus a regular intersection. They also decrease noise and exhaust pollution because braking and accelerating are minimized. Roundabouts are consistent with the City’s long-term sustainability goals, in addition to the long term vision of de-emphasizing an aggressive car culture in favor of a more neighborly walking and biking culture.

There is a growing group of residents petitioning for a second roundabout to be installed at the intersection of Camino Del Mar and 22nd, which also has serious safety concerns. You can learn more about this petition and roundabouts in general by contacting the TPAC, or finding me at Viewpoint!



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