San Elijo Hills residents have expressed real concerns over the last several months regarding traffic safety within the Town Center. These concerns are the result of recent accidents as well as the daily interactions between students walking to school and the significant traffic that passes through the Town Center each day. The City has sought to respond the situation and to provide meaningful enhancements to traffic control in the Town Center. Keeping the area safe for pedestrians and vehicles alike will require a combination of traffic control enhancements, enforcement and the promotion of good driving habits. While there is no single answer to ensuring safety in the Town Center, below is an update on some of the changes that have been or are being implemented to make the Town Center safer.
The City has instituted a number of changes in the Town Center already and is planning several others. Last Fall, in response to residents’ concerns, the timing of the yellow and all-red cycles of the traffic signals were adjusted to allow more time for pedestrians and cars to clear the intersections. More time was also added to the green light cycle on the left hand turn onto Schoolhouse Way during drop off and pick up times at the San Elijo Elementary School. In addition to these signal adjustments, the crosswalks in the Town Center will be painted to include the “ladder” style markings, which will make them more visible to drivers. The beginning of the 25 MPH zone in the area around the Town Center will be extended slightly on the east end.
There were additional changes that required consideration by the City’s citizen led Traffic Safety Commission. The Commission met in December and approved the changes that the City staff requested. These changes will include installing radar speed feedback signs at the beginning of the 25 MPH zone in each direction and improving visibility and lighting to support improved enforcement of red lights. These changes will provide greater notification of the reduced speed zone in the Town Center and give law enforcement a greater ability to identify and cite red light traffic violations within the Town Center.
Residents can expect the changes to crosswalks, 25 MPH speed limit extension and red light enforcement aids to be in place early this year. The new speed indication signs will take a couple of months longer due to the lead time for ordering.
These traffic control and enforcement measures complement the great work that is being done by the resident-led Pace Car program, which encourages safe and responsible driving within the community.
While each of these efforts will help further safety in the Town Center, the truth is that there is no one solution. Keeping traffic calm on the streets in and around the Town Center is going to take continual work. This means finding ways to improve the current conditions, appropriate enforcement by the Sheriff’s Department, and the promotion of good driving habits. Traffic safety is not a challenge that you solve once, but rather one that requires continual vigilance.
The residents who have raised concerns have helped to drive needed changes. Those efforts must now be followed by an ongoing effort to promote and support safe driving and we need to model those safe driving habits for both ourselves and the motorists that pass through our community.
You can reach Chris Orlando directly at email@example.com.