City program aims to reduce speeding in neighborhoods
January 29, 2013
The City of Carlsbad will install new stop signs on Levante Street, Esfera Street and Magnolia Avenue as part of a program where residents and city traffic engineers work together on solutions to slow traffic in residential neighborhoods.
“Speeding on residential streets can have a negative effect on the quality of life and the feeling of safety in residential neighborhoods,” said City of Carlsbad Deputy Transportation Director Bryan Jones. He said the City Council adopted the Residential Traffic Management Program in response to complaints about vehicles speeding on neighborhood streets.
Jones said traffic engineers evaluated 24 residential streets in 2012 and prioritized nine as having the highest needs. City staff have been collaborating with residents along the highest three prioritized streets on the list for solutions to slow traffic.
- Phase one involves education and enforcement, which consists of improving signage, conducting traffic surveys and making residents aware of traffic and safety issues. Police regularly visit the neighborhood and issue citations when necessary.
- Phase two involves traffic management measures like stop signs, speed cushions and tables, and high-visibility striping in crosswalks.
- Phase three employs such engineering features as turn restrictions, traffic circles, curb extensions, islands, raised entryways to intersections and other more costly measures.
Carlsbad engineers John Kim and Jim Murray were originally contacted by residents of Levante Street, Esfera Street and Magnolia Avenue who were concerned about speeding in their neighborhoods. The city increased education and enforcement efforts, but those actions didn’t succeed in getting the desired results. Staff then met with residents to discuss possible phase two solutions and agreed on placing stop signs at 500- to 1,000-foot intervals.
“When a residential street is a long, uninterrupted segment, drivers tend to increase their speed driving through a neighborhood and may drive at a faster speed as a result,” Kim said. “Our Residential Traffic Management Program uses stop signs, speed cushions and tables to break up uninterrupted segments into shorter, uniform lengths as a way of highlighting the residential character of the roadway. We’ve found that this is an effective way of reducing speeds on residential streets.”
Stop signs are typically used to regulate the right of way and control traffic flow, but under the Residential Traffic Management Program they can be used to help redefine the residential character of neighborhoods streets and slow vehicles down.
Under the program, to install the stop signs the city must have neighborhood support, so staff sent surveys to residents and non-resident owners along the three streets to ask if they supported the stop sign proposals. The program requires that more than 50 percent must return the surveys, and 67 percent of those responding must say yes for the solution to be implemented. All three streets met the required thresholds.
The City of Carlsbad Traffic Safety Commission approved the recommendations on Oct. 1, and the City Council approved them on Jan. 29.
The Transportation Department will install all-way stop signs at two intersections on Esfera Street in La Costa, and two all-way stop signs on two intersections on Magnolia Avenue in northwest Carlsbad. Levante Street, which roughly parallels La Costa Avenue, will receive all-way stop signs at seven intersections.
Kim said that Levante Street needs stop signs at seven additional intersections because it is unusually long for a residential street — more than one and one-half mile between Escenico Terrace and La Costa Avenue. The spacing of the stop signs on Levante is similar to the spacing on Esfera and Magnolia.
“Based on the strategy of breaking a long Levante Street into shorter segments, we made the segments as equal in length as possible to reduce speeds along the entire length,” Kim said. “The residents understand that if we leave out stop signs we run the risk of increased vehicle speeds in the longer segments.”
Kim said the Carlsbad Residential Traffic Management Program isn’t suitable for every neighborhood traffic problem, and it requires a strong commitment from everyone living in the neighborhood to be successful. The program is designed for residential streets, so it does not apply to major commuter roadways like El Camino Real or Palomar Airport Road.
The new stop signs for all three streets will cost approximately $30,000. They should be installed this spring. For more information about the program, visit the city’s website.
For more information
City media contact